A week or so after my initial sighting I identified these rather gross looking things as a stinkhorn in it’s juvenile stage. To stay I was bummed out about not seeing these in their adult form is an understatement. I have a list of mushrooms I’d like to someday find, and of course, photograph, the stinkhorn is in my top five! If I would have just checked back on these babies the next day I probably would have been able to cross that off my “to-find” list.
Another week went by and I was back at my parents when it hit me, I should go check to see if any mature stinkhorns were around. I dashed over, spotted some, and ran back full speed to grab my camera bag.
They were surprisingly a lot less smelly than one would think something
called a “stinkhorn” would be. That’s not to say they didn’t have a bit
of a funk about them. Apparently they were still odorous enough to
attract insects. Do you see the tiny bugs in the last photo of them? Insects are actually what help spread the spores of this mushroom.
Something I thought was that was really neat about these is that the stalk is actually hollow. In the second photo above you can see where it has a white ring around the top, you can see right down through the whole mushroom.
Fun fact : mature stinkhorns only last a day or two before dying (which is actually fairly common with mushrooms in general.) Below is a photo of one a few days after it’s prime. The mulch surrounding the tree was covered with them.
I’m still so stoked I finally get to cross these off my list! It’s so strange that I lived at that house my whole life up until six years ago, and I had never noticed them until this year. Was I just looking right past them, or were they not there previous years?! Either way, I’m going to be keeping a much closer eye.