Phallus impudicus L., 1753 (syn: Dictyophora duplicata sensu auct. (2005) (misapplied name); Dictyophora duplicata var. obliterata Malençon, 1957; Dictyophora indusiata sensu auct. brit. (misapplied name); Hymenophallus togatus Kalchbr., 1884; Ithyphallus impudicus (L.) Fr., 1823 ..; Kirchbaumia imperialis Schulzer, 1866; Morellus impudicus (L.) Eaton, 1818; Phallus foetidus Sowerby, 1801; Phallus impudicus sensu auct. brit. (misapplied name) ………………; Phallus indusiatus sensu auct. brit. (misapplied name); Phallus volvatus Batsch, 1783);
Phallus impudicus, known colloquially as the common stinkhorn, is a widespread fungus recognizable for its foul odor and its phallic shape when mature, the latter feature giving rise to several names in 17th-century England. It is a common mushroom in Europe and western North America, where it occurs in habitats rich in wood debris such as forests and mulched gardens. It appears from summer to late autumn. The fruiting structure is tall and white with a slimy, dark olive colored conical head. Known as the gleba, this material contains the spores, and is transported by insects which are attracted by the odor—described as resembling carrion. Despite its foul smell, it is not poisonous and immature mushrooms are consumed in parts of France and Germany.
Sometimes called the witch’s egg, the immature stinkhorn is whitish or pinkish, egg-shaped, and typically 4 to 6 cm (1.6 to 2.4 in) by 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in).
On the outside is a thick whitish volva, also known as the peridium, covering the olive-colored gelatinous gleba. It is the latter that contains the spores and later stinks and attracts the flies; within this layer is a green layer which will become the ‘head’ of the expanded fruit body; and inside this is a white structure called the receptaculum (the stalk when expanded), that is hard, but has an airy structure like a sponge. The eggs become fully grown stinkhorns very rapidly, over a day or two. The mature stinkhorn is 10 to 30 cm (3.9 to 11.8 in) tall and 4 to 5 cm (1.6 to 2.0 in) in diameter, topped with a conical cap 2 to 4 cm (0.8 to 1.6 in) high that is covered with the greenish-brown slimy gleba. In older fungi the slime is eventually removed, exposing a bare yellowish pitted and ridged (reticulate) surface. This has a passing resemblance to the common morel (Morchella esculenta), with which it is sometimes mistaken. The rate of growth of Phallus impudicus has been measured at 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) per hour. The growing fruit body is able to exert up to 1.33 kN/m2 of pressure—a force sufficient to push up through asphalt. The spores have an elliptical to oblong shape, with dimensions of 3–5 to 1.5–2.5 µm.[
The common stinkhorn can be found throughout much of Europe and North America, and it has also been collected in Asia (including China, Taiwan, and India), Costa Rica, Iceland, Tanzania, and southeast Australia. In North America, it is most common west of the Mississippi River; Ravenel’s stinkhorn (Phallus ravenelii) is more common to the east. The fungus is associated with rotting wood, and as such it is most commonly encountered in deciduous woods where it fruits from summer to late autumn, though it may also be found in conifer woods or even grassy areas such as parks and gardens. It may also form mycorrhizal associations with certain trees.
(From Wikipedia on 11.6.15)
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