Gail Ruhl, Senior Plant Disease Diagnostician,
Unsightly and smelly are appropriate words to describe
the ‘finger-shaped’ mushrooms popping up in yards,
flowerbeds and even cornfields. The mushroom is known as a stinkhorn
and like other fungal decomposers, stinkhorns live on decaying
A stinkhorn grows within an enclosed structure or
membrane that looks similar to an egg. When the developing fungus
expands, the "egg" breaks open, revealing the young mushroom-like
fungus, which at that time is usually odorless.
Following full expansion, the spore-bearing surface
begins to break down, and the spores become immersed in a dark-colored
gel-like, foul smelling mass. Hence the name, stinkhorn! This spore
mass is attractive to flies, which pick up spores as they walk
over the surface of the mushroom. The spores are then carried with
the flies to new areas.
to additional information on Stinkhorns