Common Stinkhorn Phallus impudicus

Scientific Name: Phallus impudicus (Phallaceae). 'Phallus' is a reference to the phallic appearance of stinkhorns. 'Impudicus' means 'immodest'.

English Name: Common Stinkhorn.

French Name: Satyre puant (='stinking satyr'); Phallus impudique (='immodest phallus'); Oeuf du Diable (='Devil's egg').

5 Key Characters:
  • young specimens are like eggs in the ground.
  • cap is covered in a smelly olive green gel which attracts flies.
  • they can be very smelly, to the extent that you may smell them before seeing them.
  • usually found in groups.
  • the flesh is honeycombed.

Lookalikes: Other stinkhorns, which are much less common.

Habitat: Woodland, especially coniferous. Grows around dead tree stumps and other rotting wood.

Fruiting Period: Potentially all year, but not usually in the summer. Peaks June - October. Flies transfer the spores from the smelly gel to the next place they land.

Status: Very common and widely distributed.

Edible or Toxic? Edible when young but most people don't fancy them.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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