Ravenel’s Stinkhorn

(Phallus ravenelii)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Ravenel’s Stinkhorn

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common and widespread in eastern North America

Season

August through October

Habitat/Hosts

On the ground or on well rotted stumps, logs, wood chips, or sawdust. Usually clustered, sometimes singly, in gardens, lawns, meadows, cultivated areas, and woodlands.

Photo by Kirk Nelson
   
   

Identification

This is a common and widespread mushroom in gardens, lawns, meadows, cultivated areas, and woodlands of eastern North America. It is found from August through October, singly or in clusters, on the ground or on well rotted stumps, logs, wood chips, or sawdust. It is saprobic, obtaining its nutrients from decaying wood.

The fruiting body at first is white to pinkish, egg-shaped, up to 2 tall, and 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 and a 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, sometimes in as little as one hour, producing a 4 to 6 tall, 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 spike-like, hollow, spongy, fragile, 4 to 6 tall, and to 13 16 thick. It is usually entirely white but may be tinged yellowish or pinkish toward the base. At the base of the stalk the remnants of the ruptured “egg” (volva) is white, sometimes tinged with pink.

The cap is thimble-like, to 19 16 in diameter and 19 16 to 1¾ in height. There is a white, 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-brown to dark brown, spore-bearing mass. 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 a dark. granular, smooth or slightly wrinkled but not deeply pitted or ridged surface. There are no gills.

All stinkhorns are edible but the slimy consistency inside the “egg” and the putrid odor the mature specimen are enough to dissuade most from collecting it for the table.

 
Similar
Species

Common Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus) cap is deeply pitted and ridged (reticulate) beneath the slime.


Distribution Distribution Map  

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


Comments

 


Taxonomy

Division:

Basidiomycota (club fungi)

 

Subdivision:

Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)

 

Class:

Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)

 

Subclass:

Phallomycetidae

 

Order:

Phallales

 

Family:

Phallaceae

 
Synonyms

Aedycia ravenelii

Ithyphallus ravenelii

 
Common
Names

Ravenel’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.

 

volva

Also called cup. A cup-like covering at the base of a mushroom stem, sometimes buried. In Amanita, Volvariella, and some other mushrooms, it is the remnants of the universal veil ruptured by the mushroom pushing through. In Phallales it is the remnants of the ruptured peridium.

       

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Kirk Nelson


  Ravenel’s Stinkhorn    

       
       
       

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  Phallus ravenelii, stinkhorn mushroom
CUPlantPathPhotoLab
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 27, 2012

This is a 30 hour time lapse of a trio of autumnal stinkhorn mushrooms, Phallus ravenelii. Images were taken at 5 minute intervals.

 
     
  Stinkhorn Growth (Phallus Ravenelii)
Rob C.
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 2, 2014

Phallus Ravenelii

351 Images over 4 hours

More info: http://goo.gl/5GruZ1

 
     
  Dictyophora duplicata and Phallus ravenelii, stinkhorn mushrooms
CUPlantPathPhotoLab
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 27, 2012

This is a 3 day, 5 hour time lapse movie of the stinkhorn mushrooms Dictyophora duplicata (left) and Phallus ravenelii (right) growing and senescing. Towards the end of the movie, note the fly that is attracted to the fetid carrionlike odor of the stinkhorns. It'll pick up sticky spores on it's tarsi and spread them to new locales. Images were taken at 5 minute intervals.

The less-than-straight growth of the stickhorns is the results of digging them up from the mulch where they were growing to move them to the photo studio.

 
     

 

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Kirk Nelson
10/16/2016

Location: Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Ravenel’s Stinkhorn


     
     
 

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