Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Slimy, Red, Phallic Fungus - the Stinkhorn

Thankfully, this fungus only grows in the garden and not for example, in my fingernails. This is a follow up post to my post on garden distractions.

It's scary, it's red, it's slimy... bugs crawl on it...

Stinkhorn with slime, and ants and flies.

The stinkhorn releases a slime which contains pores apparently, and the bugs are attracted to it and help spread the pores.  I can't tell if it actually has a smell since it didn't smell stinky to me, or maybe it's a smell only bugs notice.

This fungus has decided to grace my plot at the Haliimaile Community Garden. Why me?  Because it wants to be photographed. I don't know. I have put some horse manure down and also really old eucalyptus mulch, but other than that, have not done anything particularly odd.  It's the same horse manure and eucalyptus mulch as in the rest of the garden. I haven't seen these stinkhorns anywhere else in the garden, but other people are better weeders than I am.

The stinkhorn in its early stages of stinkhornness:



I think of these as "eggs" -
they are the initial forms of the fungus underground.


These stinkhorn "eggs" were found in a row.

The "adult" or mature stinkhorn:

Clearly the egg shape develops into this more phallic shape.
Mother Nature can be kinky.




"Just minding my own business - nope, nothing out of the ordinary here."


The exhausted and spent stinkhorn. Hmmm...

Anyhow, the stinkhorn lends itself to the imagination. I won't go into details though.  Lehua at the garden mentioned that she has seen them in Haiku as well, although not recently. So stinkhorns abound.  Maybe it's the season for stinkhorns.

The latin name for stinkhorns?  There is mutinus caninus, mutinus elegans and m. ravenelii.  I'm not a fungus expert and don't know which one I've got.  Here's the site which helped me finally figure out I have a slew of stinkhorns: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/mutinus_elegans.html

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