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.
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:
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.