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The Common Stinkhorn

The Common Stinkhorn
Photo Information
Copyright: Gert Paassen (Gert-Paassen) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1832 W: 5 N: 7663] (24509)
Genre: Fungi
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-10-28
Categories: Fungi
Camera: Nikon D300
Exposure: f/8, 1/20 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-11-16 21:32
Viewed: 3195
Points: 24
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [Dutch]
Latin name - Phallus impudicus

Phallus impudicus, the Common Stinkhorn, emerges from an 'egg' beneath the surface. The cap is initially covered with olive-green 'gleba', a smelly coating that attracts insects which in turn distribute the spores.

It is fairly easy to find the 'eggs' of this species, because they are usually only partly buried in pine needles or leaf letter and the white skin stands out clearly.
Eggs of the common stinkhorn can be found at any time of year, but they usually lie dormant until the summer months.
Within the egg the fruit body develops. In this picture the stipe material is in the central column and the gleba, which bears the spores, surrounds it. The honeycomb texture of the cap beneath the gleba is also visible at this stage.
If the eggs are gathered early enough, while their contents are white, their contents are edible. Stinkhorns are not much sought after, however, as there are many more attractive edible fungi.
As soon as the cap emerges from the egg, insects attack it and eat the gleba. Some of the sticky gleba adheres to the legs of the insects, and that is how the spores get carried from one location to another.
Note the honeycomb texture of the cap beneath the gleba.

To find specimens in pristine conditions, you really need to visit the woods at dawn, before the flies have found any new stinkhorns that have burst from their eggs during the night.
This is a very common woodland species and easy to find: just follow your nose!
Beneath the sticky olive-green gleba coating, the cap of the Common Stinkhorn has a raised honeycomb structure. This is all that many people ever see of the cap of this fungus because insects very quickly eat the spore-bearing gleba, at the same time getting some of it stuck to their legs so that spores get transported over quite large distances as the insects fly off in search of food elsewhere.
Early morning is the best time to look (or sniff) for this very smelly species.

Typically 15 to 25 cm tall; stipe diameter 2 to 4cm; cap 2.5 to 5 cm across.
Other features The 'egg' is typically 4 to 8 cm in diameter, gradually becoming elongated until it ruptures and the stipe emerges very quickly, bearing the gleba-coated cap aloft.
At the egg stage this fungus is edible, but it is not greatly valued as a source of food (except by flies!).

The white stipe has a texture and appearance of expanded polystyrene; it persists for several days after the gleba has been consumed by insects.
Spores The slimy gleba, which is dark olive, contains yellow spores.
A strong, unpleasant odour; no distinctive taste.
Habitat Found in all kinds of woodland, but particularly common in coniferous forests; invariably near to dead tree stumps or other sources of rotting timber.
Season June to October.
Occurrence Very common.
Similar species Mutinus caninus, the Dog Stinkhorn, is much smaller and has a weaker odour; its honeycombed cap surface is orange rather than white beneath the gleba.

crs, Jamesp, nagraj, LordPotty, pekkavalo1, sandpiper2, siggi, MMM, jconceicao, nglen, boreocypriensis, jaycee has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To boreocypriensis: ThanksGert-Paassen 1 11-17 13:34
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-11-16 21:37]

Hello Gert,

You have shown this mushroom in a very good photo. Image has a fine composition as you have well placed the mushroom on its right side. You have focused right showing the whole mushroom sharp, with good details. It stays well against the background with dead leafs.

Thank you for sharing,

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-11-16 23:15]

Hi Gert

A lovely captue of this stinkhorn. Very good detail and exposure.

In Victorian times, this species was illustrated unpside down in books because its resemblence to a phallus was thought to be too shocking!


  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2008-11-16 23:16]

hi Gert,
another wonderful mushroom in its natural habitat, well captured with good details and contrast. good composition with valuable notes. tfs.

Oh pooh!
One of these smelly things!
We don't get this species here in New Zealand,but we do have a few stinkhorns which smell very bad as well.
A great capture of this one Gert.
Good exposure and composition.
Thanks for sharing.

Hi Gert,
Very good close-up capture of this Common Stinkhorn with nice POV, good composition, sharp details and natural BG.

Hi Gert

A useful shot of this penis-shaped fungi.
Great comosition and note.
Good sharpness.


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-11-17 7:04]

Hello Gert,
Very good presentation of this Stinkhorn.Very clear and well composed.The detail is good, great composition and sharpness.
Regards Sigi

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1129 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-11-17 7:21]

Hi Gert
Nice capture.Good POV and lovely color.Sharp image with excellent detail.
TFS Michel

Hello Gert,

Excellent photo of this interesting fungi.
Focus and sharpness are fantastic.
Lighting and definition are splendid.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-11-17 12:52]

Hi Gert. Your list of fungi get longer each day. This is a good view of the Stinkhorn . With good detail and natural colours. and a nice low POV. well done TFS. with interesting notes too.

hi my big bro,
After a weekly break which i underwent a surgical operation, i feel beter today to write something. perfectly composed and focused capture of this mushroom in a fine composition.
TFS and especially for your e-mail message.


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-11-17 15:39]

Hi Gert,

The name Stinkhorn is not very appealing - but your picture of it is. I love the composition showing how it is leaning into the dead leaves. Wonderful colors, details, and notes.


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