Mutinus Caninus

Like much of the east coast, we have been having a very wet spring and early summer.  Things are very damp, including the air.  So it’s not surprising to see fungi popping up in the gardens.

orange stalks with green slime
orange stalks with green slime

This morning’s example was a bit of a surprise though, I’ve never seen it before.  The orange was very eye-catching and the hollow tubes were iridescent in the cloudy light of the morning.  I googled it and found out that it is in the Stinkhorn family.  After studying the pictures, I think I have narrowed it down to be a Mutinus Caninus.  This sounds vaguely like a dog that decides it’s not going to follow your directions anymore.

According to one website, “Unlike other mushrooms, the stinkhorn distributes its spores by applying an odorous, spore-thick slime to its tip, which flies and other insects are attracted to. The flies then carry the spores to other places.”



Another website tells about whether it’s edible:

Culinary notes

Hollow tubes

The smell of a mature Dog Stinkhorn is nowhere near as strong as the vile odours of many other members (sic!) of the stinkhorn family. The immature eggs of this gasteromycete fungus are stated in some field guides to be edible but in others inedible. Although they are not known to be seriously poisonous, these are definitely not delectable fungi. Several people have reported their dogs being very sick after eating mature Dog Stinkhorns, and so it’s most likely that any person eating mature specimens would suffer a similar fate. In China the dried eggs of Dog Stinkhorn are readily available in shops and, it seems, they are quite popular as edible fungi – but maybe the big attraction is their assumed medicinal value. Now I wonder what that might be?

And yes, they do apparently stink, thus the name stinkhorn.


9 thoughts on “Mutinus Caninus

  1. How fascinating! I’ve never seen anything like them before. I wonder what they smell like (but I wouldn’t want to get too near them to try… just in case!).

  2. I have to confess that when I saw the title of your post, I immediately thought,” What have the dogs done? Rebelled? ” 😀 As long as they steer clear of the Stinkhorn I guess all will be well. What a strange looking thing.

    1. It is a wee bit bizarre looking. Fortunately, the dogs have shown no inclination to go near it. Of course they tend to eat other stuff, hostas, oak leaf hydrangeas, grass, japanese maples…sigh.

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