Thursday, January 04, 2007


We've had good rains this week and it's warm, so the various fungi digesting their way through my yard are pushing up fruiting bodies. Patricia at Morning Martini posted an interesting variety of "stinkhorn" fungi a few days ago. Mine is a different, better behaved variety called, octopus stinkhorn (Clathrus columnatus) or deadman's fingers.
The different stinkhorns use putrid scents to attract spore spreading carrion loving insects. The smell is really bad and you usually find stinkhorns with your nose long before you spot the actual fungi. These deadman's fingers seem to be common in decomposing mulch materials like wood chips and leaves. This means they often show up uninvited along paths and walkways where they really aren't appreciated. This one is along the short walk up to my porch and it's stink zone is about 20 feet to either side of the 'shroom. Not good.
So I'll stand about 22 feet away from it and direct you as you pull it from the ground and toss it in the woods.
Okay?Posted by Picasa


pissed off patricia said...

Oh man, those are the worst. God, I hate that smell. Just looking at it about turns my stomach.

My "interesting" one is gone now but three others just like it have popped up side by side. I better refrain from describing what the three of them remind me of, lest I get booted out ;)

They surely are pleasing to a whole bunch of ants.

Leslie said...

I'd never heard of stinkhorns until we got some in our yard in Georgia about three years ago. Ours didn't ever smell, though. We were having tons of rain - maybe the rain washed away the stinky?

Deb said...

I bet the dogs like rolling in those! Mine would, anyway.

roger said...

maybe the pig will eat it.

robin andrea said...

As Food-TV's Emeril used to say, "too bad there's no smellivision." Or maybe I'm glad I can't smell that stinkhorn. Must be pretty awful, but at least yours isn't naughty like Patricia's was. Yikes.

Alan said...

I saw a stinkhorn just the other day and yes, it was next to a sidewalk. They sure don't smell pretty that's for sure.

Last year I saw my first ever Indian Pipes here in Florida. Unfortunately I was in a hurry and did not have time to get a photo. Would have made a good shot for my blog.

Good photo.


vicki said...

"maybe the pig will eat it"- roger is very funny today. This growth, nor any of it's relations, have turned up in my yard down here yet. They are quite amazing in appearance. Maybe there's a scratch and sniff version of podcast so we could get the full effect. In the meantime, I'm hot on the trail of coontie.

MoMadness said...

I don't have one smelly thing in my yard right now, that I could compare to that. However, that is a very "interesting" looking piece of nature and I'm glad to learn about it.

SophieMae said...

OK, it's getting downright scary now. LOL! I was about to post my latest stinkhorn pics, but came by here first. ooooooOOOOOOOOOoooooooo

The guys can't believe I got close enough to take pics. The odour - kinda like rotting meat - is way repulsive, for sure. One showed up a couple weeks ago, now I can see maybe 5-6. I didn't linger long enough to do a head count. This could explain the flies that have been hanging around lately.

This year, they're the deadman's fingers variety. In the past, we've been host to the Ravenel's, as well. I think these are worse. I've read, BTW, that the stinkosphere is more like 50 feet.

SophieMae said...

PS - interesting link:

pissed off patricia said...

LOL, sophiemae. I visited the site you linked and the story was very funny. I came up with a caption for the mushroom I pictured earlier this week. I wanted to caption it with the following "Ma, I don't think we buried Pa deep enough."

For those of you who think you'd like to smell the stink horn in the PF photo, trust me you don't. Just imagine the worst pungent odor you've ever smelled. Now multiply that by 10

Floridacracker said...

Since you've smelled them, you'll appreciate this ... my net research says that they are eaten by humans. Arrrghhh yuck!
Great caption on your stinkhorn...LOL!

Lucky you! They are horrible!

I hadn't thought of that, but they seem to ignore it. Weird.

she's too intelligent, but people eat them.

It's really, really bad. Dead rat in the wall bad.

I've seen Indian Pipes and Pine Saps a few times, but they do seem scarce.

Lucky you! I'm working on that scratch and sniff computer monitor.

They'd be pretty if they didn't stink so bad.

Um... okay this is getting weird. I think tomorrow's post might be coontie ... just so you know :)
That was an amusing link!

ImagineMel said...

Reason 678 why I am an English teacher: icky, yucky, nature-y stuff. GROSS. I got to hear about echinoderm something or other over a lovely supper of pasta primavera. So, THANKS! ;)

Rurality said...

Wow! I'm so jealous. What a cool shroom.

Hurricane Teen said...

I will pull up a thousand stinkhorns for one dinner at your house :-D

Floridacracker said...

Don't tell me the lad was discussing evisceration defense over pasta ... heehee

I know, they are pretty cool aren't they? Stink and all, they are still pretty darn neat.

Let's see ... chicken pilau with a bottle of datil pepper vinegar handy, Minorcan clam chowder, and some fried shrimp with datil pepper relish ...

Hurricane Teen said...

what, you're not gonna cook the stinkhorns too? Datil peppers make EVERYTHING taste good...even stinkhorns :-D

Paintsmh said...

Yah know, I thought the mud up here was bad. And, while it is sticky and obnoxious, it doesn't smell like much of anything but dirt and wet. Guess it isn't so bad after all, I mean, all things considered.

Floridacracker said...

We have stinky mud also ... our saltmarsh goo has to win the prize for naturally stinky sediment. I like that smell tho ... it's an acquired scent I guess.