Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus) – Identification

Stinkhorn/Summer/Autumn/Edible and Inedible

Scientific Name

Phallus Impudicus


Family

Phallaceae


Habitat

Mixed woodland with rotting wood.


Description

This mushroom grows as an egg partly submerged in the ground. the egg is heavy with a jelly like feel. The Stink horn bursts out and forms the very phallic looking fungi. The cap is covered in a sticky liquid called gleba which attracts flies to spread spores.

JovanaKoturov, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commonsnkhorn

Identifying Features for Stinkhorn:


Cap:

 First appearing smooth and olive grey brown to black but this is what’s called the gleba which contains the spores. The gleba attracts flies which spread the spores of the Stinkhorn. they take the gleba with them and leave a white cap with a honeycomb pattern.

JovanaKoturov, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Stem:

Hollow, white and like spongey honeycomb. Flesh soft and rubbery in the cap, like polystyrene in the stem 


Gills:

None, the stink horn spores in rancid smelling olive green sludge called gleba


Smell:

Putrid rotting flesh though some say it smells sweet like honey.


Spores:

held in the olive green liquid called gleba but the spores are yellow


Uses

Rumored to be an aphrodisiac. however that is more down to the shape of the mushroom rather than any chemical properties.


In food

the egg stage of the Stink horn is reputed to be edible and apparently tastes of radishes. However the smell of these is often unbearable and that enough to put people off, 

Danny S., CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Harvesting

when in the egg form only however not particularly palatable.


Known hazards

The Smell!


Potential lookalikes

Can look a bit like a Black Morel or False Morel but the overwhelming stench of the Stinkhorn should save confusion.
Can also look like a Puffball, Earthball,pictured, or Amanita egg when in the egg stage.

Danny Steaven, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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