Elegant Stinkhorn
(Mutinus elegans)
Garbage Man
Elegant Stinkhorn Sculpture

Elegant Stinkhorn

Note the absence of the olive-brown slime near the tip of this stinkhorn, which is older than the ones shown below.

sculpture, acrylic paint

This red to pink, pointy-tipped, cylindrical stinkhorn is 4 to 7 inches tall, 5/8 to 1 inch across, covered with greenish-brown slime toward the tip when young. It's generic name refers to Mutinus Titanus, a Roman god of fertility. I'll let you guess why!

Elegant Stinkhorn & Egg

Elegant Stinkhorn

Note the white, egg-like immature stinkhorn in front of the base of the mature one.

It arises from a whitish sack at the base.

Elegant Stinkhorn "Egg"

Elegant Stinkhorn "Egg"

Note the network of white mycelium, the body of the fungus, infiltrating the wood chips.

The white, thread-like mycelia (the body of the fungus) descend from the sack into the wood chips or leaf litter where it grows.
Elegant Stinkhorn

Elegant Stinkhorn Unearthed

Note the brown slime on top, and the remnants of the sac at the base.

The sac looks like a puffball (which is undifferentiated inside), but when you cut it open, you can see (and smell) the tube-shaped immature stinkhorn inside.
Stinkhorn Egg Cut Open

Elegant Stinkhorn "Egg" Cut in Two

Note the hollow orange cylinder of the immature stinkhorn inside.

You can find this very common mushroom in cultivated areas throughout the eastern half of North America in the second half of the summer.

Old Elegant Stinkhorns

Old Elegant Stinkhorns

Note how the stinkhorns collapse as they age.

This stinkhorn may be elegant, but it's not good to eat! People in China cook and eat the immature stinkhorn sacs. I tried cooking the aptly named "Devil's balls" of this species once. They had no flavor, and a very unpleasant, slimy texture. I flushed them down the toilet, with an exhortation that they return to the Devil!