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Dictyophora duplicata     Skirted Stinkhorn

The "skirt", just below the cap, is distinctive for this species.  It is clinging to the stalk in this specimen but is supposed to flare out a bit.  The presence of the skirt separates Dictyophora from Phallus.  If   this had no skirt it would be very similar to Phallus impudicus (because of the chambered head).   Phallus ravenelli also lacks a skirt but the head is smooth when the all the spores are gone.  The skirted stinkhorn is large and specimens 20 cm or more tall are not unusual.

In stinkhorns the cap is covered with foetid, evil-smelling, sugary (they tell me!) goo that is attractive to insects, particularly Diptera and especially blue-bottles.   This goo contains the spores of the fungus.  As the flies soup up the goo, they become contaminated with spores and transport them to some other likely site that takes their fancy.   They say that the "egg" stages of  stinkhorns are edible.  Go ahead!

This fruitbody was one of a large number growing in a flower garden close to the University of Guelph and the homeowner put in a distress call to our Department.  For some years she had fertilized her flower beds profusely with good old horse manure and was now paying the penalty.  I think she failed to appreciate my unbridled delight at her predicament.  The lady also has a Mutinus growing in the grass in close proximity and the photo of this species is also in this section.  So, all  in all it was a good day!  It also fruits in deciduous woods.