Tuesday 22 July 2008

# 29 Pseudocolus fusiformis

Stinkhorns are amongst my favourite fungi. Yes, I know they are considered the "ugly ducklings" of the fungi world, but their offensive reputation is simply a magnet to me. I am always delighted to stumble upon these weird fungi forms, sometimes just having to follow my nose in order to locate them.

I believe this stinkhorn to be Pseudocolus fusiformis, commonly known as Stinky Squid Fungus, although I am not definite about my identification. If any fungi experts out there can confirm or deny my identification, I would be most grateful.

Pseudocolus fusiformis

I have found this stinkhorn fungus on two occasions, both in mulch at the Hunter Wetlands at Shortland, Newcastle. It is the foulest smelling stinkhorn species I have encountered, resembling the stench of a blocked or unmaintained septic sewer system. The odour emanated for quite a distance.

Arms of Pseudocolus fusiformis emerging from leaf-litter

When leaf-litter is scraped away the "eggs" can be seen

Like all stinkhorn fungi, Pseudocolus fusiformis starts out as a gelatinous egg-like form buried or semi-buried in the substrate. As it ages, the fruit body emerges from the "egg". Up to 4 arms are joined to a single "stem" and are joined at the apex.

The green/brown or brown slimy spore-bearing gleba is present on the inside surface of the arms. The foul odour attracts flies which distribute the spores.

There is more information on Pseudocolus fusiformis at Mushroom Expert.

Notice the gelatinous substance in the ruptured "egg"

My sightings of Pseudocolus fusiformis

[This will be updated with new sightings]

Hunter Wetlands (Shortland, Newcastle) - in mulch or leaf-litter - Jun, Dec.

Arms are joined at apex and gleba is presented
on the inside surface of the arms


Mosura said...

Fascinating, intriguing, attractive, enchanting, eye-popping, spectacular, but definitely not ugly. Great photos too.

Denis Wilson said...

Mosura has pinched all the good adjectives.
Excellent report. I have never seen that one, just the occasional Aseroe rubra - the "Starfish Fungus". But I have never found a really fresh one for good photos.

William Archer said...

I have never seen that one before, thanks for the introduction. I presume it is a native species? Either way an interesting find and not one easily forgotten.


Gaye said...

Mosura, I am so pleased to hear some complimentary words related to Stinkhorns. Because of their offensive smell, they are more often than not thought of as disgusting.

Denis, I don't think the cold in your area would prevent Aseroe rubra because I have seen it in alpine environments, so it's probably just not being in the right place at the right time. Good luck.

Westy, I'm not sure whether or not it is native to Australia, but I suspect not. If I find any information on this at any time I will post it up. It has been apparently found in North America for about a century.

It was an exciting find for me. I remember walking past a toilet block at the Hunter Wetlands after rain and the odour was just foul. A fungus caught my attention in a garden not far from the toilets, and it wasn't til I was down on all fours inspecting it that I discovered where the smell was coming from. I was so excited to have found a new (to me) stinkhorn that I was simply beaming.

Thanks all.


glenda larke said...

Thank you for sharing. Beautiful pictures.

Gaye said...

hello Noramly,

I apologise for the delay in posting your comment, and responding; I have been away.

Thankyou for your comment and email.


Joyce Payeur said...

I live in New Jersey, USA. Found the Pseudocolus growing on mulch under pine trees on a neighbors lawn today, Sept. 6. We have had a hurricane and much rain in the past week. Incredibly bright orange and really powerful odor. I love them!!

Nathanael said...

Hello Everyone. Found several of these beauties in my planter this morning. Very deep and bright Red - Orange coloration. Could not pin point the source of the putrid smell for several days, but on further inspection found several of this species of Stinkhorn in the mulch. I live in Florida and have not had much rain at all for the past month. Dug them up and have some great pictures, but I am not sure if I can upload them to this site. If you have an E-mail address I can send them to you. The mulch is not from a store but from a personal friend who owns a mulch yard.

Bruce said...

I have found these at Bunya Mountains, Queensland but in every case they were growing in the end of rotten Bunya Pine branches.