Stinkhorns

Stinkhorns are fascinating fungi. You can normally smell them before you see them. It’s the putrid smell of rotting flesh or something else nasty that gets you in the back of the throat. I’m at the National Trust property Killerton House when I smell them:

Stinkhorn - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Their shape means their scientific name is Phallus impudicus. I love these 19th Century illustrations:

Stinkhorn - The Hall of Einar

They attract flies which transport their spores:

Stinkhorn - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I’m crouching in the bushes taking photographs of penis-shaped fungi when two men walk past and ask me what I’m doing. They’re not as judgemental as I expect them to be. They chuckle when I show them my next find:

There are also smaller orange Stinkhorns here under the trees. These are Mutinus caninus, the Dog Stinkhorn:

Dog Stinkhorn - The Hall of Einar

It’s so dark under the trees I really must bring a small tripod with me next time. And a better explanation of what I’m doing.

Stinkhorns - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

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