Ravenel’s Stinkhorn

(Phallus ravenelii)

Conservation Status
Ravenel’s Stinkhorn
Photo by Kirk Nelson
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

not listed

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Ravenel’s Stinkhorn 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 (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 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.  
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

Gardens, lawns, meadows, cultivated areas, and woodlands.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

August through October

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

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

 
  9/28/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Widespread; more common in eastern United States

 
         
 
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

 
 

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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Luciearl

 
    Ravenel’s Stinkhorn   Ravenel’s Stinkhorn  
           
    Ravenel’s Stinkhorn      
 

Kirk Nelson

 
    Ravenel’s Stinkhorn      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           

 

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Other Videos
 
  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.

   

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this fungus.

 
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  Luciearl
9/26/2021

Location: Maplewood, Ramsey County

Ravenel’s Stinkhorn  
  Charlene
2019 & 2020
late August/
early September

Location: St. Paul, MN

They have grown 2 years in the mulch around our house. I decided to identify it this year because the smell is unbelievable. 

 
  Matt
9/1/2019

Location: Walker, MN

Stinky!

 
  April Horne
7/1/2018

Location: east of Rochester, Mn

 
  Kirk Nelson
10/16/2016

Location: Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Ravenel’s Stinkhorn  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

 

 

 

 

Binoculars


Created: 10/29/2016

Last Updated:

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