Major Groups > Stinkhorns > Lysurus corallocephalus


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Lysurus corallocephalus

by Michael Kuo, 29 May 2024

Also known as Kalchbrennera corallocephala, this African stinkhorn is pretty unmistakeable. It features a whitish to pinkish stem that terminates in a gnarly set of stubby red branches that are covered with, and appear to emerge from, an oozing dark brown mass of spore slime. Overall, Lysurus corallocephallus has the appearance of a twisted, aborted form of Aseroë rubra.

I have not collected Lysurus corallocephalus, nor has anyone sent me material to study. But I would love to study it! If you have found this amazing stinkhorn and would like to help out by preserving and mailing a specimen, please let me know at .

Thanks to Robin Mountford, Tyron du Preez, Caro Watkins, Charlotte Whitaker, and Sharon van Zyl for sending photos of Lysurus corallocephalus, and for permission to reproduce the images here.


Note: Since I have not collected or studied collections of this mushroom, the description is based on the sources cited below and the photos sent to me.

Ecology: Probably saprobic; growing alone or gregariously in a variety of habitats (Dring [1980] lists the following for specimens examined: "on soil in maize field," "under Pithecolobium," "Old Calabar botanic garden," "in Acacia xanthophaea woodland," "Bamboo forest c. 7000 ft," "edge of cultivated field and natural woodland," and "in grass"); originally described from Angola (Welwitsch & Currey 1868); distributed throughout subSaharan Africa; found year-round.

Fruiting Body: At first a pale "egg" up to 4 cm across; emerging to form a stem and a head. Stem up to 12 cm high; more or less cylindric; hollow; whitish to yellowish, pink, or reddish; spongy; pitted; arising from a whitish to pinkish volva. Head scarlet to reddish orange, with protruding branches arranged around polygonal meshes; the branches simple or forked, up to 3 mm wide and 2 cm long, accordion-like when fresh; covered with olive-brown to dark brown spore slime.

Microscopic Features: Spores 3.5–4.5 x 1.5–2 µm; more or less ellipsoid.

REFERENCES: Welwitsch & Currey, 1868. (Saccardo, 1888; Lloyd, 1909; Dring, 1964; Dring, 1980; Coetzee, 2010.)

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Lysurus corallocephalus

Lysurus corallocephalus

Lysurus corallocephalus

Lysurus corallocephalus

Lysurus corallocephalus

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Kuo, M. (2024, May). Lysurus corallocephalus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: