Phallus Impudicus: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Phallus Impudicus Mushroom
Phallus impudicus or Common Stinkhorn is an edible fungus commonly known as stinkhorn. It was first described in 1597, by botanist John Gerard, in his book General History of Plants. Stinkhorn can grow up to 25cm tall and resembles a phallus when fully emerged from the egg-like structure which contains the immature fruiting body. Once the fruiting body emerges, the young cap oozes a spore-bearing sticky gel called gleba which attracts the flies and other insects it relies on to distribute its spores. It smells like rotting flesh.
Each common stinkhorn carpophore develops through two stages. In the first stage, it is round, covered with a white, elastic shell. In the round formation, there is a germ of the next stage. The development of the "egg" takes place in topsoil. Taking a closer look at this carpophore, one will see mushroom strings at the bottom part of the formation. When the round fruiting body reaches a definite stage of development, its shell cracks - and the second stage of the development of the common stinkhorn begins.
In the second stage of the receptacle, if the microclimate is favourable, the common stinkhorn grows extremely fast; therefore it is included in the Guinness Book of Records. The size of this new formation usually correlates with the size of the former "egg" before it breaks: the greater the fruit has been, the greater it develops in the carrier stage. Some specimens can even exceed 30 cm in length and 4 cm in diameter. At the top of the carrier, which is slightly narrowed, a bell-shaped hat, covered with a mucous olive green gleba, develops. The cap is covered with an irregular cellular netting, where under the gleba, a basidium with spores starts developing.
Phallus impudicus is commonly throughout Europe and in North America.
Other names: Witch’s egg, Common Stinkhorn, Devil’s egg, Hexeneier.
Phallus Impudicus Identification
Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously in gardens, flowerbeds, meadows, lawns, wood chips, cultivated areas, and so on; summer and fall; widely distributed in North America.
Immature Fruiting Body
Like a whitish to yellowish (or purplish, in Phallus hadriani) "egg" up to 6 cm across; usually at least partly submerged in the ground; when sliced revealing the stinkhorn-to-be encased in a gelatinous substance.
Mature Fruiting Body
Spike-like, to 25 cm high; with a cap 1.5-4 cm wide, which is covered with olive brown to dark brown slime; often developing a perforation at the tip.
The cap surface pitted and ridged beneath the slime; sometimes with a whitish to purplish "skullcap" (a remnant of the volva); with a whitish, hollow stem, 1.5-3 cm thick; the base enclosed in a white (Phallus impudicus) or purplish (Phallus hadriani), sacklike volva, which is often at least partly submerged underground.
Phallus Impudicus Taxonomy & Etymology
The nominate form Phallus impudicus var. impudicus was described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, who gave it the scientific name Phallus impudicus that it retains to this day. Synonyms of Phallus impudicus var. impudicus include Phallus foetidus Sowerby and Ithyphallus impudicus (L.) Fr.
Phallus impudicus var, togatus (Kalchbr.) Costantin & L.M. Dufour - synonyms include Dictyophora duplicata sensu auct. brit., and Hymenophallus togatus Kalchbr. - differs in having a veil that forms a lace-like skirt beneath the head of the fungus. This variety is a rare find in Britain.
The genus name Phallus was chosen by Carl Linnaeus, and it is a reference to the phallic appearance of many of the fruitbodies within this fungal group.
The specific epithet impudicus is Latin for 'shameless' or 'immodest', and hence Phallus impudicus translates to 'shamelessly phallic'. This species is sometimes referred to as the Common Stinkhorn.
Phallus Impudicus Timelapse
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