Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Bigger Stink: Ravenel's Stinkhorn

Well, I'm glad nothing died in the garden this morning; it's just Ravenel's stinkhorns opening up. A few weeks ago I talked about the dog stinkhorns which were bestowing their malevolent perfume on us at that time, but they are pikers when it comes to odiferousness; Ravenel's stinkhorn is bigger and definitely stinkier, with its white stalk and large, olive brown slime head. The mushrooms arise quickly from pink sacs that are popping up in the decaying wood chips on the paths and flowers beds... these sacs look for all the world like a flower bulb that a squirrel unearthed and abandoned; you will only pick one up once.
When the stinkhorn lofts its slimy head, it's like ringing the dinner bell for every fly and beetle in the garden, and the sticky brown goo quickly disappears, smearing the diners with spores in the process, which they carry to other stinkhorns. It is easy to envy certain attributes of other species; who wouldn't like to have the eye of an eagle or the hearing of a white tailed deer... however I'll definitely pass on the stinkhorn's clever method of reproduction!
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Amusing post. Are the stinkhorns good for anything-like compost/fertilizer?
I don't know about American stinkhorns. The German ones are supposed to be edible. Some people slice up the egg-like bulbs and fry them. It's supposed to be a delicacy. Though I must admit, I've never dared. ;)
Nicole... well they're good for flies and other stinkhorns... that's about it!

Corinna...supposedly the American stinkhorns are edible, too (also cooked in the egg stage). I'll pass.
So THAT'S what those are!! I have a few in my gardens this fall and I've never seen them there before. That doesn't mean they weren't there, I'd just not seen them. I'm glad I didn't touch them.
i just had to do some research on these funny looking mushrooms that suddenly appeared on my woodchips and along my driveway today. i don't seem to smell them yet, the eggs are yucky to look at, all slimy too. well, i wonder, does anyone know it's life expectancy?
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