Common stinkhorn (phallus impudicus) | Fresh & dry mushrooms | Biobritte mushrooms

Common stinkhorn (phallus impudicus) | Fresh & dry mushrooms | Biobritte mushrooms

Common stinkhorn (phallus impudicus) 

Phallus impudicus, the Stinkhorn, emerges from an underground 'egg'. 

The cap is initially covered with a smelly olive-green 'gleba' that attracts insects; they then distribute spores via their feet.

If you want to see these strange fungi, there is no need to go looking for them. Just follow your nose. 

Once you have found one, you will never forget the smell, and thereafter you will probably let out an involuntary yell of 'Stinkhorn' whenever you get wind of one! Early morning is the best time to look (or sniff) for this very smelly species.

Common stinkhorn

Stinkhorns are saprobic and generally gregarious, so where you find one just look around and you will probably be able to find several others at the 'egg' stage (see below). 

Some Victorians, including Charles Darwin's granddaughter Etty Darwin, were so disgusted or so embarrassed at the form of these phallic fungi that they attacked them with cudgels at dawn rather than allowing them to fruit and spread their spores. 

It is doubtful whether such actions could make much of an impression on the Stinkhorn population; however, the main purpose was to avoid letting the Stinkhorns make the 'bad impression' on any impressionable young ladies who might decide to take a morning walk in the woods!


Very common throughout Britain and Ireland, Phallus impudicus also occurs in most parts of mainland Europe from Scandinavia to the southernmost parts of the Iberian Peninsula and the shores of the Mediterranean. 

This species is also found in many western parts of North America.

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