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Mutinus elegans

Description

Elegant stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans) is a foul smelling fungus found anywhere woody material is rotting – old stumps and branches, mulch, lawns. The 'horn' is the visible fruiting body of the network of mycelia that has been growing through the woody material, breaking it down and releasing nutrients to other plants. At some point, this network 'decides' it is time to reproduce and creates a white egg like structure that is partially above ground. It is from this structure that the pink to orange columnar fruiting body develops. This development can take only a few hours. The top of the structure is covered in a slimy, greenish brown mass of spores that smells of rotting meat or worse. The smell attracts insects which become covered in the slimy spores and deposit them away from the 'parent' mycelia. This is a very unusual occurrence within the fungus world. Most rely on wind to disperse their minute spores.

Quick ID:

  •     Cap: N/A
  •     Gills: N/A
  •     Stalk:  2-6" long, pink through reddish orange, spores in a sticky, greenish brown, smelly mass at the top of the stalk
  •     Annulus: N/A
  •     Spore print: N/A
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#mushrooms#pink
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#mushrooms#pink
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Mutinus
    Species:
    elegans
    Family:
    Phallaceae
    Distribution:
    Stinkhorns are found on all continents except Antartctica.
    Edibility:
    The white 'egg' that can be seen before the fruiting body erupts is reportedly edible. However, the deadly Amanita group of fungi also have these egglike structures. Always go mushroom hunting with an expert.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 4 in. - 0 ft. 7 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 1 in. - 0 ft. 1 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Mushroom
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Pink
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The 'fruit' of any fungus is a solid structure that creates and disperses spores, which are the means of reproduction. With the mushrooms we cook, the form is a stem and a cap. Under the cap are thin 'membranes' that resemble the spokes of a wheel. The spores are carried on the sides of the membranes. In the case of a stinkhorn, the form is a hollow column with a hole at the top. As the spores mature they are exuded through this hole as a stinking, greenish mass. The horn of the Elegant Stinkhorn varies from pink to orange in color. It is about 4 inches long and between 0.5 and 0.75 inches in diameter. They develop very quickly.
  • Leaves:
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No