Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stinkhorn.


We found a really exciting fungus growing in the woods today while hiking, which I recognized as a stinkhorn of some type. After some research at home, I discovered that it is the Mutinus elegans, named for its graceful curve. (It looks similar to the Mutinus caninus, or Dog Stinkhorn, which is pink and has a more bulbous end--one guess why it's named thus.)

The brown slime that you see covering the stinkhorn contains spores and smells like poop or rotten meat (depending on the specimen), so it attracts flies, which in turn distribute the spores that stick to their feet. Delightful! All stinkhorns have this slimy, brown, poopy-smelling goo, but they are not poisonous. In fact, the Net Stinkhorn, also known as Bamboo Fungus, is commonly eaten. The brown goo is removed first, I'm guessing.

Eric snapped this photo, and now we can gaze at this Elegant Stinkhorn whenever we wish.

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