Aseroe Rubra: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Aseroe Rubra Mushroom
This awesome mushroom appears in tropical and subtropical areas. In the United States it is common in Hawaii and in the southeastern states, where it has been introduced. It features a central column that is topped by an array of short, doubled tentacles.
This weird and smelly fungus attracts flies and other insects to help them spread their spores.
This mushroom produces a dark brown to black slime containing spores on its surface, which has an intense smell of rotting meat or sewage. There are many differently shaped species, but all are readily recognizable by the smell of the spore slime.
Aseroe Rubra recycles nutrients and loves mulch.
Other names: Space Alien Fungus, Anemone Stinkhorn, Sea Anemone Fungus, Starfish Fungus.
Aseroe Rubra Identification
Saprobic on plant litter and woody debris; growing alone or gregariously; found in woods or, more commonly, in cultivated areas and compost (in gardens, along paths, and so on); appearing year-round; common in Hawaii and frequently found in the southeastern United States; also found in tropical and subtropical areas across the globe (especially Australia, New Zealand, and southern Africa).
Immature Fruiting Body
Like a whitish to brownish "egg" up to about 3 cm high; attached to numerous rhizomorphs; when sliced revealing the stinkhorn-to-be encased in a gelatinous substance.
Mature Fruiting Body
Up to about 8 cm high; stem clearly defined, round in cross-section, with a horizontally furrowed surface, white to pink, red, or orange, encased at the base in a whitish volva; head portion flattened, covered with brown to olive-brown, foul-smelling slime; with 5–7 radiating tentacles that are arranged symmetrically around the edge of the head and measure up to about 4 cm long; tentacles doubled, white to pink, red, or orange.
Spores 5–6.5 x 1.5–2 µm; cylindric; smooth; inamyloid; hyaline or yellowish in KOH; walls not cyanophilic. Sphaerocysts in stem subglobose; 20–40 µm wide. Volval hyphae interwoven; 2–7 µm wide; branching; smooth; hyaline in KOH; clamp connections not found.
Clathrus archeri lacks a stem and its arms are not bifurcated.
Aseroe Rubra Taxonomy & Etymology
The Starfish Stinkhorn was first recorded by French biologist Jacques Labillardière (1755 - 1834), a member of the D'Entrecasteaux expedition, who collected a specimen in 1792 at Recherche Bay, Southern Tasmania, and published a scientific description of it in 1800, thereby establishing its currently-accepted scientific name Aseroë rubra.
The generic name Aseroe refers to the spore-bearing sticky, smelly brownish gleba and comes from Greek Asē- and -roe, meaning 'disgusting juice'. The specific epithet rubra refers to the color of the arms (tentacles!) of the fungal fruit body; comes from Latin and means red. (Some people refer to this species as the Anemone Stinkhorn, because its red tentacles are reminiscent of certain kinds of Sea Anemones.)
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