|Major Groups > Stinkhorns > Clathrus ruber|
by Michael Kuo
If there were such a thing as an orange "Wiffle football," it would be Clathrus ruber. You wouldn't want to hike it to a friend, however, since its interior surfaces are coated with a foul-smelling slime that attracts flies and other insects (who then disperse the mushroom's spores). Like other stinkhorns, it arises from an "egg" that is attached to the ground with long cords.
Officially a European species, Clathrus ruber is found with some regularity in northern California. A similar species, Clathrus crispus, appears in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. I suspect that reports of Clathrus ruber from southeastern North America represent Clathrus crispus.
Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously--often near woody debris, in lawns, gardens, cultivated soil, and so on; common throughout the Mediterranean, from where it has spread to northern Europe--and introduced to North America through human activity (it is found in Mexico and California, where it is a "regular" in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park); fruiting nearly year-round.
Fruiting Body: 5-15 cm high; shaped like a round or oval ball composed of interlaced branches (reminiscent of latticework on an apple pie); the branches flattened, spongy, roughened, and covered with olive to brownish slime on their inner surfaces; red, pink, or orange; without a stem or with a crude, stubby stem. When young encased in pale eggs; the egg tissue creating a white volva around the base when the mushroom matures.
Microscopic Features: Spores 4-6 x 1.5-2.5 µ; oblong-elliptical; smooth.
Clathrus cancellatus is a synonym.
Further Online Information:
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2006, September). Clathrus ruber. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/clathrus_ruber.html