Monday, April 27, 2015

Behold: the dog stinkhorn

Ah, the mushrooms of Medlock. Often there are many in late summer and early fall.

But it's spring, and like puppies after a long winter, the dog stinkhorns have come out to play. Behold Mutinus elegans!

At first, the stinkhorn is pretty nondescript and button-like.
And then it's Martha, hide the children, for things are getting weird!
Another view, from pod to emerging stinkhorn to one that probably got kicked over, showing the hollow, spongy inner works. An engineering feat, without a doubt.
In a post titled "Nastiest. Mushroom. Ever." the Brooklyn Botanical Garden explains that "After sprouting from an egglike bulb, the orange or red stalks produce a slimy, carrion-scented spore coating near the tip. Flies are attracted to the scent, and after feeding on it, they fly off and dispense the spores wherever they land."

If these pictures are not enough, Cornell University has a time-lapse video of the full horror, from emergence to the inevitable keeling over. As a group, these stinkhorns seem to have very distinctive shapes...