Identification: Strange Pod / Root / Bulb / Egg ?

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by singlewall, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. singlewall

    singlewall Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I live in San Francisco, California and I have a backyard where my neighbors dog likes to run laps around a stump of what was a rather large palm tree that came down a few years ago. The soil is very sandy and as the dog ran around the stump it eventually started digging up this really, really, really odd things in the ground. I will do my best to describe them...

    They are white in color and not quite circular - the largest are about the same size and shape as a chicken egg. They are covered in a thick slime, and they also have a rubbery purple skin that is loose and reminds me of a textured party balloon that has been blown up and then deflated. They dont seem to be anchored into the ground at all, meaning there are no roots or anything that I can see. They appear to be kind of just sitting loosely in the soil. I think one of them smelled vaguely fishy, but for the most part they dont really have much of a smell. I tried to step on one to see what it looked like on the inside, and it kind of squished out from under my shoe so they are fairly robust and not easily smashed. All told I think we have found maybe 15-20 of these things in a coupe different spots around the stump.

    I have no idea if this is part of a plant, a root, a bulb - it could be a bunch of dinosaur eggs for all I know. As I mentioned, I live in San Francisco so my climate is mostly cloudy and foggy, and the soil in my backyard is very sandy as I am only about 2 miles from the beach and my neighborhood used to be sand dunes back in the 1800s.

    I have never seen anything like this before...its really strange, and I am really hoping someone will have an idea since this is driving me nuts!

    Thanks in advance!
     

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  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It might be a type of truffle. Slice through an intact specimen and photograph the cross section to provide a better idea of their interior.
     
  3. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    I'll put my best guess as Phallus hadriani (in the egg form).
     
  4. singlewall

    singlewall Member

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    MycoRob - you are correct! I did a search for Phallus hadriani on google and I do remember seeing one of those growing in the back yard last year. It was covered with flies and was generally pretty nasty so I cut it down to ensure that my neighbor's dog would leave it alone.

    Per vitog's request I grabbed one and cut it in half, so I've included those pictures here just for fun.

    Thanks for the help!
     

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  5. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    The purple encasing gave it away. I like to slice up the smaller eggs (all but the huge ones), dip them in a scrambled egg, then into flour and fry, and eat them up. They actually make a tasty treat.
     
  6. Frog

    Frog Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thank you MycoRob,
    Does it have a distinctive taste?
    Very cool colours.

    -frog
     

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