Identification: Orange horn-shaped fungus - what is it?

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by msparker, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. msparker

    msparker Member

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    I found this fungus in my herb garden this morning. I've never seen it before. I live in the USA, in Central Illinois.

    The garden had some mulch in it, so it's possible this is growing from some old wood chip mulch.

    There are a few of these orange "horns" growing out of some white fungus in the soil. The fungus "horns" are about 4 -5 inches log. They are hollow, and have brown slime on them, and they are smelly. I opened up one of the horns -- just a hollow tube -- and the walls have the texture of a sheet of plastic foam that you would pack china in.

    Does anyone know what this is?

    MsParker
     

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  2. Chris Klapwijk

    Chris Klapwijk Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    it might be Mutinus elegans or Elegant Stinkhorn, but I'm not positive.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    I'd agree with a Mutinus species, perhaps Mutinus caninus (famously named from its resemblance to a male dog's whatsit ...)
     
  4. joebotanical

    joebotanical Member

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    I have some of these growing in NJ under a butterfly bush. I would describe the smell as an amplified chestnut tree smell. Whatever it smells like it's terrible. Thanks for asking the question I had no idea what this thing was. Actually found some info on line saying that these things were edible, you would have to be crazy to eat one of these.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2006
  5. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    Mature stinkhorns are NOT edible. When they are very young, they are found in little underground eggs, traditionally called devil's eggs or witches eggs. These little imature eggs are what is reportedly edible, for at least some species of stinkhorns.


     
  6. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    Here's a pic of a cross section of a large and small stinkhorn egg I took last month. It's a different species from the one in question in this topic, but you get the idea. Only the tip of the large one was above ground, while the small one was a few inches beneath the grass.

    Anyone who guesses the genus and species of these eggs gets some bonus points!!! It is possible from the pictures, although I will add that the skin-like covering is purple.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 16, 2006
  7. Durgan

    Durgan Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    Stinkhorns are more than smelly. The odour is bloody awful. I only found one about 10 years ago and it was absolutely disgusting as to odour. Flies love the mushroom and there are usually many buzzing around, particularly if it is mature. I remember identifying it, and was amazed that it was classified as edible. How could anybody get past the odour?, but some people eat limburger cheese. No accounting for taste!
    Durgan.
     
  8. joebotanical

    joebotanical Member

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    They not only smell bad, but have a close look at this fungus. The green slime really is the kicker or should I say stinker.
     

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  9. LindaKK

    LindaKK Member

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    I just found this in my rock garden - looks exactly like the pictures below. I thought my husband was playing a joke on me for my birthday! It seems to have come up overnight. Thanks for the information! I didn't expect to find an answer when I typed this into my search engine.
     
  10. wstiles6

    wstiles6 Member

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    Does anyone know how to prevent these from growing? My patio is unusable, because of the smell. I have these popping up inside a small ground hugging evergreen. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  11. kleach

    kleach Member

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    I also live in Illinois and have this growing in the garden by my front door after a week of heavy rains. If anyone knows how to get rid of it we'd appreciate the help. I've been digging up the white egg-shaped fungus each morning hoping that I'd kill it so no more smelly horns would grow, but so far it doesn't seem to slow down the growth.
     
  12. allelopath

    allelopath Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    >>I've been digging up the white egg-shaped fungus each morning hoping that I'd kill it
    That won't work because what your picking up is the fruit of the plant. Its like picking an apple from a tree and hoping the tree will die. The plant is in the ground. It looks like a spider web of sorts. The only way to remove it is to remove all the dirt.
     
  13. sweetstuff

    sweetstuff Member

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    I just found this site today as I was trying to identify the "bizarre" spiky plant I found growing in my lawn today in Calif. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for answering my question even before I asked it.
    I took pictures this morning and several hours later the brown goo on the plant has been consumed by flies and the spike is beginning to shrivel.
     
  14. zachs_mom

    zachs_mom Member

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    We found these in our landscaping woodchips. PHEEEW! We poured regular household ammonia on them and they dissappeared. Good luck, I hope this works for you.
     
  15. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    I imagine that would definetly kill the fungus and it's mycelium, and it can't be too good for the grass, trees, kids, pets, etc. I'd rather put up with a stinky otherwise harmless fungus than pour ammonia on my lawn. I'd bet that a cheap fungicide from Home Depot or Lowes would be a bit safer for the ol' lawn.
     
  16. wstiles6

    wstiles6 Member

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    It's late tonight, but I'll try it tomorrow. They are all located in mulch, so the ammonia sounds like a good option to my situation. Thanks!
     
  17. wstiles6

    wstiles6 Member

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    I poured ammonia on the fungus. They dried up! We had a cold night, too, and I'm not sure if that had an effect. I haven't seen any new ones, so I'll wait for the next outcropping. Thanks for the adivse. I appreciate it.
     
  18. joebotanical

    joebotanical Member

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    Looks like these stinkhorns are still growing. I have several ready to pop up shortly. The smell is already starting. We saw several along a walk also. Does anybody know how long these will continue to sprout? I live in New Jersey and we have had a few cold nights ~35-40°F. Just wondered how cold these things can tolerate.
     
  19. mauajat

    mauajat Member

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    We just observed these by our evergreens, also in mulch. We are in Maryland and it has been cold, below freezing. Just had big rain this morning. Still going strong! Smell is like previously noted thread, nutty smell. This doesn't smell like the rancid stink mushrooms. The photos here do not show the small hole in the top of the "horn". I assume they all have it and are just not clear in photos. Always thought fungus was hot humid growth. Base of horn is like group of small whitish gray sacks, very moist and soft. Are these natural to Maryland or blown in from recent storm from a more common location?
     
  20. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    I believe the distribution of these is rather ubiquitous in the country. The spores are distributed in the sticky-goo from the smelly decomposing fungi. Their primary mode of spreading their spores is from insects -- which are attracted to the smell of carrion from the fungi, land on the sticky goo, get the spores stuck on their appendages, and then carry them to a new location.
     
  21. seaquin2000

    seaquin2000 Member

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    Oh my God I thought that I was the only one in the entire world with this problem!! I will definitelt try the fungicide and the ammonia. These things are sick looking. I don't smell anything though.
     
  22. joebotanical

    joebotanical Member

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    Well if you think they are sick looking wait till you experience the smell. I wonder why yours do not have an odor? Maybe they need to mature further to generate the stink.
    I am amazed at the number of odd plants on this earth.
     
  23. tsturman

    tsturman Member

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    The first time my kids found this in our yard they came running in to tell me that our dog had bitten off some poor, little animal's tongue and that it stank like rotten corpse. The texture does look a bit tongue-like, and they were right on with the stench.
     
  24. joebotanical

    joebotanical Member

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    Did the dog spit the piece out of its mouth? I could not think anybody could get one close enough to their face to eat. It has been said that the smell about 20% of human subjects are specifically anosmic to the odor of the heterocyclic Schiff''s base 1-pyrroline. Odor threshold measurements on 33 nitrogenous bases were made with panels of specific anosmics and normal observers. The anosmia proved to be very selective, and was encountered only with 1-pyrroline and its homolog 1-piperideine. The odor of 1-pyrroline resembles very closely that of human semen, and possibly represents a vestigial pheromone. It is suggested that this specific anosmia corresponds with the absence of a new olfactory primary, the spermous odor. The same odor occurs as an impurity in several organic reagents and can be detected in a variety of biological materials.
     
  25. tsturman

    tsturman Member

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    The dog wasn't eating it. The kids found it on the ground, and since our dog routinely catches and eats squirrels and other small animals- the children thought it was an animal part left over from a dog's kill rather than a fungus.
     

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