Major Groups > Stinkhorns > Clathrus crispus


Clathrus crispus

[ Agaricomycetes > Phallales > Phallaceae > Clathrus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Clathrus crispus appears with some frequency in Florida and along the Gulf Coast, to judge from e-mails I receive. It is an outlandish and exotic looking stinkhorn reminiscent of an orange "Wiffle football"--except for the God-awful stench that results from the slimy brown goo that covers the inside of the lattice. Clathrus ruber, which appears in California and Mexico, is similar but lacks the "coronas" that define Clathrus crispus: each of the "holes" created by the lattice appear radially grooved. The two species also differ on microscopic features.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously--often near woody debris, in lawns, gardens, cultivated soil, and so on; Florida, the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and Mexico; fruiting nearly year-round.

Fruiting Body: Up to 10 x 15 cm; shaped like a round, oval, or irregular ball composed of interlaced branches (reminiscent of latticework on an apple pie); the openings lined regularly; the branches flattened, spongy, roughened, and covered with olive to brownish slime on their inner surfaces; red 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 x 2 µ; oblong-elliptical; smooth.

REFERENCES: Turpin, 1829. (Saccardo, 1888; Lloyd, 1909; Dring, 1980.)

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Clathrus crispus

Clathrus crispus

Clathrus crispus

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Kuo, M. (2006, September). Clathrus crispus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: