Phallus, That’s right I said Phallus.

Go ahead and giggle, laugh, chuckle, behave like a 7th grader again! Scientists get a stuffy wrap, those that work on anything as icky as taxonomy (naming of organisms) are the worst of all. No sense of humor, caught up in their own little world of something as strange as mycology or whatever it is. Finally, an example that yes… yes we do know how to laugh.

Say Hello to Phallus impudicus, a stinkhorn, a strange group of fungi that go out of their way to be gross and excel at it. I’m not sure anyone has a clue as to why they look the way they do but they certainly do look different. Stinkhorns start out as eggs that develop at the soil level, most often visible and then the egg ‘hatches’ and in a matter of hours the stinkhorn grows to its full triumph.

And they stink, they are called stink horns for a reason. The dark portion of this stinkhorn is covered in gelatinous sticky, stinky, concoction that resembles the odor of dead animal with a mix of poop, different stinkhorns have different smells. Some smell incredibly strong and others are a bit less potent but either way the flies love the smell.

The flies fly to the stinkhorn and quickly devour the deliciously spore filled goe that they then fly to some new area and leave behind. The spores go and continue on their way to become new stinkhorns and the cycle continues.

If you are in the mood for an additional laugh or two go ahead and pick your favorite search engine and search for other stinkhorns. Try Mutinus caninus (think canine… aka. dog) and my favorite is Clathrus columnatus because it was the first stinkhorn I ever found.


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