Major Groups > Stinkhorns > Phallus indusiatus


Phallus indusiatus

[ Agaricomycetes > Phallales > Phallaceae > Phallus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This amazing tropical stinkhorn features a long and elaborate "skirt." In North America, it is found in the southern provinces of Mexico; northward it is replaced by the short-skirted Phallus duplicatus. Readers who have seen the Discovery Channel's Planet Earth series may remember the stunning time-lapse photography sequences of Phallus indusiatus rising from the ground, then gracefully extending its net-like skirt.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously in woods, especially in disturbed-ground areas (ditches, paths, road sides, and so on); also common in urban settings; year-round; distributed in North America from roughly the 24th parallel southward (southern Mexico); also common throughout the tropics, nearly world-wide.

Immature Fruiting Body: Like a whitish, brownish, or purplish "egg"; when sliced revealing the stinkhorn-to-be encased in a gelatinous substance.

Mature Fruiting Body: Spike-like; to 25 cm high; with a cap that is smooth at first but pitted and ridged by maturity, and covered with a slimy, olive-brown substance that eventually wears off (or is carried away by flies), exposing a whitish to light brown surface; usually developing a perforation at the top; with a white stem that arises from a white, sacklike volva; with a laced, white to slightly pinkish "skirt" hanging up to 15 cm from the bottom edge of the cap; odor unpleasant or strongly sweet.

Microscopic Features: Spores 2.5-3.5 x 1-1.5 µ; long-elliptical to nearly cylindric.

Dictyophora indusiata is a synonym.

REFERENCES: Ventenat, 1798. (Persoon, 1801; Saccardo, 1888; Lloyd, 1909; Cunningham, 1944/1979; Dring, 1964; Arora, 1986; Guzmán, Montoya & Bandala, 1990; Calonge, 2005; Calonge et al., 2005.) I have not collected this mushroom.

Similar species with colored skirts include Phallus cinnabarinus (with a red to orange skirt) and Phallus multicolor (with a somewhat shortened, yellow skirt). To judge from illustrations in Guzmán, Montoya & Bandala (1990), the former occurs in Mexico--but records of yellow-skirted stinkhorns from Mexico may simply represent specimens of Phallus indusiatus with slightly yellowish skirts, or skirts that have yellowed with age.


Phallus indusiatus
Costa Rica

Phallus indusiatus

Phallus indusiatus

Phallus indusiatus

© MushroomExpert.Com

Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2011, April). Phallus indusiatus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: