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Stinkhorn fungus

By: Garden Gate staff
It might look like an alien life form, but it’s just a stinkhorn fungus, either an elegant stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans) or a dog stinkhorn (Mutinus caninus).

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Stinkhorn fungus

IDENTIFICATION – It might look like an alien life form, but it’s just a stinkhorn fungus, either an elegant stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans) or a dog stinkhorn (Mutinus caninus). Though not harmful or poisonous, stinkhorns are aptly named — these things smell bad! The rotting-meat scent attracts flies, which spread the spores around.

FAVORITE CONDITIONS – Stinkhorns grow from egglike structures underground, and you can find them anywhere there’s decaying plant material — in lawns, under trees or in mulch.

CONTROL – There’s no prevention or control for this harmless fungus. And though it’s odd-looking, it will shrivel away in a day or two. It may appear in your lawn again as long as there’s decaying organic material to feed on. Look at this as an exciting encounter with nature — not everyone gets to see (or smell) one of these peculiar fungi!

Published: Jan. 8, 2008
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