Elegant Stinkhorn

Mutinus elegans

The Elegant Stinkhorn is a mushroom you will probably smell before you see. As its name suggests, this fungus gives off a strong, unpleasant odor, similar to rotting meat.

The Elegant Stinkhorn is long and narrow, pinkish-white, covered with green slime. It is usually four to seven inches long. This mushroom has a whitish cup near the bottom, and is attached to the ground with what looks like white string. This "string," called mycelia, is actually the fungus, the mushroom you see is like its "flower."

Copyright, Bruce Bacon

David Dennis, NAMA

The Elegant Stinkhorn can be seen July through September. It grows on old wood, dead leaves, or in rich soil.

It can be found in many places, including woods, fields, and gardens--wherever there is decaying plant material.

The Elegant Stinkhorn attracts insects with its smell, especially flies, such as the Bluebottle fly. This fungus depends on insects to spread, much like flowers. As the flies eat the stinkhorn, spores (much like pollen from flowers) attach to the insects' bodies. The spores are in the stinkhorn's green slime. Later, these spores can grown into new fungi.

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Plants

OTHER

Bluebottle Fly

Horned Fungus Beetle

Bluebottle Fly D

Isopod

Fungus Gnat

Fungus Gnat D

Leopard Slug

Eastern Box Turtle

Horned Fungus Beetle

Soil Mite

Fungus Gnat

Relationship to Humans:

This fungus can be annoying because of its offensive smell. It is actually edible, though most people do not desire to eat it. REMEMBER, never eat a mushroom without checking with an expert! Many mushrooms look alike and are poisonous! It can also be a nuisance because of the insects it attracts.

Like all fungi, the Elegant Stinkhorn performs the important job of breaking down old plant matter (decomposing). Despite its odor, this mushroom helps us by turning old trees and leaves back into soil.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Fungi
DIVISION
Basidiomycota
CLASS
Gasteromycetes
ORDER
Phallales
FAMILY
Phallaceae
GENUS
Mutinus
SPECIES
Mutinus elegans

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