poetry and prose about place

stinkhorns – what’s not to love?

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This morning I was trimming the vines at our front door and resting occasionally in my yellow lawn chair. Every time I sat down, I smelled a very disgusting smell. It didn’t take me long to find the source. Something I have never seen before – an Elegant Stinkhorn fungus (Mutinus elegans).


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under the yellow chair is a pink stinkhorn fungus


Elegant is not an apt word for this fungus in my opinion. Its fruiting body consists of long pink cylinders covered with a dark brown mucilage at the tip. They belong to the family ‘Phallaceae’ (I understand the source of this name). The cylinder emerges from a whitish ‘egg’, a puffball-like body. Flies were buzzing about, attracted to the putrid smell.


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My thought when I first saw the fungus was that Aliens had invaded. Actually, the fungus has found an ideal location to grow. Recently it has been very wet, after a long spell of dry weather. The area where I keep my lawn chairs is mulched with wood chips, providing a source of food for the Stinkhorns.  I think the space had been made more habitable by the lawn chair which has kept air movement down and humidity high.


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Sorry. I am a botanist and I understand that I am the invader on our property. But these look disgusting, smell disgusting and, if people have to come to my front door, no one will ever visit me again.


Copyright Jane Tims 2015


Written by jane tims

September 17, 2015 at 12:32 pm

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