Major Groups > Stinkhorns > Mutinus caninus albus


Mutinus caninus albus

[ Basidiomycota > Phallales > Phallaceae > Mutinus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This rare stinkhorn is kind of like an albino Mutinus. Like other species in the genus, it consists of a stem-like structure with no separated cap or head structure; spore slime is distributed across the surface of the stem itself. Mutinus caninus var. albus can be separated on the basis of its white stem and "eggs"; other North American Mutinus species have orange, red, or pink stems. Rarely, white-stemmed forms of Phallus rugulosus are found (see the linked page for an illustration), but that species is only superficially similar; close examination reveals a structurally separated head.

It is unlikely that Mutinus caninus var. albus is actually a taxonomic "variety" of the orange-stemmed European species Mutinus caninus, although it may be closely related. Thorough study of many well-documented collections may eventually resolve the issue.

Brazil's Mutinus albotruncatus is similarly colored but features an abruptly truncated, cylindric apex and a proportionally longer zone of spore slime. It appears on decaying wood, and is not recorded from North America.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously in gardens and cultivated areas, or in woods; summer and fall; originally described from Oregon; also distributed in the upper Midwest, from Minnesota to Michigan. The illustrated and described collections are from Michigan and Wisconsin.

Immature Fruiting Body: A whitish "egg" 2–3 cm high and 1.5–2 cm wide; surface smooth; when sliced revealing the stinkhorn-to-be encased in a gelatinous substance.

Mature Fruiting Body: 6–10 cm high; 8–15 mm thick at widest point; cylindric, with an abruptly tapered apex; hollow; surface spongy, granular and wrinkled when young, becoming pocked, whitish to faintly yellowish; apex sterile and becoming perforated at maturity; when fresh covered with brown to olive brown spore slime in an apical zone, sometimes with a sharply delimited lower limit; base encased in a white to yellowish, sacklike volva; attached to thin white rhizomorphs.

Odor: Foul and strong while the spore slime is present.

Microscopic Features: Spores 3–4 x 1.5–2 µm; cylindric; smooth; hyaline in KOH. Sphaerocysts of the pseudostipe 20–50 µm across; irregularly subglobose; walls 0.5–1 µm thick; smooth; hyaline in KOH. Hyphae of the volva cylindric; 4–7 µm wide; smooth; hyaline in KOH. Clamp connections not found.

REFERENCES: S. M. Zeller, 1944. (Lloyd, 1909; Zeller, 1944; Smith, 1951; da Silva et al., 2015.) Herb. Mich 6654 (AHS 25702). Herb F. PRL 11005.

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Mutinus caninus var albus

Mutinus caninus var albus
Photographed by A. H. Smith in 1947
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Kuo, M. (2021, August). Mutinus caninus albus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site:

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