Devil’s Stinkhorn

(Phallus rubicundus)

Conservation Status
Devil’s Stinkhorn
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Devil’s Stinkhorn is native to the subtropical region of northern Africa, Australia, South America, northern Mexico and southern United States. It has spread throughout the eastern United States, probably in wood chip mulch imported from those regions. It is now common east of the Great Plains. It is found from spring through summer in lawns and gardens, especially where wood chip mulch is used. It grows on the ground, in wood chips or sawdust piles, singly or in groups. It is saprobic, obtaining its nutrients from decaying wood.

The fruiting body at first is whitish to pale brown, egg-shaped, ¾ to 1¼ tall, and to 1¼ wide. It resembles a puffball at least partially submerged in the ground. It is attached to the ground or other substrate by thread-like, branching, similarly colored strands (mycelium). Inside the “egg” there is a gelatinous layer, an olive-green spore mass (gleba), and all of the fully-formed parts of the mature stinkhorn. When conditions are right the “egg” ruptures and expands rapidly. In one or two days it produces a distinctly phallic structure with a stalk and thimble-like head. The rapid expansion is possible because all of the parts are fully formed and compressed inside the “egg”, and because the individual cells elongate, rather than new cells being produced. As the stinkhorn expands the gelatinous layer mixes with the spore mass producing a shiny, putrid slime that covers the cap. The foul-smelling slime is irresistible to flies, which feed on it, lay their eggs in it, and transfer spores when they fly to other stinkhorns.

The stalk is hollow, spike-like, 6 to 8 tall, and about in diameter. It is widest at the base and tapers to the tip. It is bright orangish-red near the tip, fading to pale orange near the base. The surface is covered with irregular, pit-like depressions.

The cap is thimble-like,1¼to 1¾ in height, and to ¾ in diameter. There is an orangish-red, circular opening at the top where it attaches to the stalk. There are sometimes remnants of a membranous veil attached to the bottom of the cap. At first, the cap is covered with a thick, slimy or gluey, shiny, olive-green to olive-brown, spore-bearing mass (gleba). The gleba has a strong, putrid odor, repulsive to humans but irresistible to flies. When it is carried off by flies and/or washed off by rain it reveals an orangish-red, smooth, not pitted or ridged surface. There are no gills.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

Wood chip mulch, lawns, and gardens

 
     
 
Ecology
 
 

Season

 
 

Spring through summer

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.

 
  8/1/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common and widespread east of the Great Plains

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Division Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subdivision Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)  
  Subclass Phallomycetidae  
  Order Phallales (stinkhorns and allies)  
  Family Phallaceae (stinkhorns)  
  Genus Phallus  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Ithyphallus rubicundus

Leiophallus rubicundus

Satyrus rubicundus

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Devil’s Stinkhorn

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Gleba

The inner spore-bearing mass of puffballs, earthstars, and stinkhorns.

 

Mycelium

The vegetative part of a fungus; consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae, through which a fungus absorbs nutrients from its environment; and excluding the fruiting, reproductive structure.

 

Saprobic

Obtaining nutrients from non-living organic matter, such as decaying plant or animal matter.

 
 
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Melissa Alberts

 
    Devil’s Stinkhorn   Devil’s Stinkhorn  
           
    Devil’s Stinkhorn      
 

ABaker

 
  In July I wast digging around by my mulch pile when I smelled something really bad. I found these unusual (to me) pods in my wood chips. …   Devil’s Stinkhorn  
         
  … About a month later, these guys were poking their heads out all over the place.   Devil’s Stinkhorn  
 

Ms. Perkins

 
  At first glance I thought this was a foam dart from one my son's Nerf guns. Good thing I didn't try to pick it up, my hands would have stunk for a week!   Devil’s Stinkhorn  
           
        Devil’s Stinkhorn  
 

Luciearl

 
  My first thought was these looked like bright orange cables coming from the ground. A closer look showed Devil's Stinkhorn.   Devil’s Stinkhorn  
 

LizInMpls

 
    Devil’s Stinkhorn      
           
           
 
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Other Videos
 
  The Phallus Mushroom and Friends
Maximus Thaler
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 24, 2016

   
  Phallus rubicundus (Devil's Stinkhorn)
CUPlantPathPhotoLab
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 11, 2013

   
  Stinkhorn Fungus
The Nature Box
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 3, 2015

🦍 Support the channel: https://www.patreon.com/thenaturebox

------------------------

Author: Peter Kuttner
License: Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Description: [taxonomy:binomial=Phallus rubicundus]
[taxonomy:family=Phallaceae]
The species is widely distributed in tropical regions. In common with other Stinkhorns, its spores are distributed by flies. Having filmed Stinkhorns on numerous occasions, I am fortunate that I have never encountered the rank stench for which these fungi are notorious.

Link: https://vimeo.com/74544184
Title: Stinkhorn Fungus

Details of the licenses can be found on this channel's "About" page.
In this video, no changes or modifications have been made to the original material.

   
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this fungus.

 
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  Melissa Alberts
7/27/2021

Location: Jackson MN – flowerbed around my house

Devil’s Stinkhorn  
  ABaker
7/19/2020

Location: Kimball, MN Stearns County

In July I wast digging around by my mulch pile when I smelled something really bad.

Devil’s Stinkhorn

 
  8/13/2020

I found these unusual (to me) pods in my wood chips. About a month later, these guys were poking their heads out all over the place.

Devil’s Stinkhorn

 
  M and D Crane
7/21/2019

Location: SW Minneapolis

 
  Ms. Perkins
7/16/2019

Location: Brooklyn Center

At first glance I thought this was a foam dart from one my son's Nerf guns. Good thing I didn't try to pick it up, my hands would have stunk for a week!

Devil’s Stinkhorn

 
  Teri
7/3/2019

Location: Fridley backyard

 
  Luciearl
9/2017

Location: Paul Bunyan Trail, Nisswa

My first thought was these looked like bright orange cables coming from the ground. A closer look showed Devil's Stinkhorn.

Devil’s Stinkhorn

 
  LizInMpls
8/30/2018

Location: Hennepin - South Minneapolis

Devil’s Stinkhorn

 
           
           
 
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Created: 9/2/2018

Last Updated:

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