DOG STINKHORN

Mutinus caninus

STINKHORN FAMILY (Phallaceae)


Description
This fungus starts out as a white to pink or purplish egg. The mature form is spike-like 2-6” in height with a slightly swollen tip. It has greenish slime covering the top part of long, tapered, pinkish, stalk like mushroom with a whitish cup about the base. It has a fetid odor. It is hollow and spongy.

Occurrence
It grows alone or in groups in gardens, flowerbeds, meadows, lawns, wood chips, and cultivated areas as well as in hardwood forests. This fungus is often seen in the summer and fall. In Fontenelle Forest it likes to grow on wood chips laid down on trails. Two were found in the butterfly garden at Neale Woods in June, 2010. One of them is shown in E.

Comments
Slime on the tip becomes foul and smells like rotting meat. This attracts flies which result in spores sticking to the flies. Eventually the flies land on some real rotting material and the spores are transferred to a substrate they can grow on. The fly may visit more than one stinkhorn, and this helps to ensure cross-fertilization. There is a lot of similarity with insect pollination of flowers. The stinkhorns seem to be absolutely dependent on the flies for the dissemination and mating of their spores. This stinkhorn can be found in the parks and gardens of many urban areas.



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