The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 16, 2001


Biodiversity corner

Ravenel's Stinkhorn

Name: Ravenel's Stinkhorn or Phallus ravenelli
Found: October 17, 2001 at School Street in a wood chip pile along with over 20 others.

Distinguishing characteristics: In the "egg" stage, this mushroom is about the size of a golf ball. It is quite heavy and cool to the touch. A longitudinal section shows an outer pinkish brown gelatinous layer which subsequently mixes with the olive green layer of spores beneath it to become a stinky gooey layer on the cap when the mushroom expands out of the "egg." The mushroom is about six inches tall and no imagination is necessary to understand the genus name Phallus.

The three eggs in the photo "hatched" later in October and early November. Other eggs are hatching daily.

The presence of this mushroom can be detected by its smell long before you see it. This is not something you want on the Thanksgiving table.

Reference: Lincoff, The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms.

Submissions for the Biodiversity Corner are invited from all interested observers of nature - there is no requirement to be a professional biologist, ichthyologist, or entomologist. You might be an optometrist, geologist or girl guide. Just follow the format of today's column and send a drawing or photo with descriptive text to Kay Fairweather at 392 School St, Carlisle MA 01742 or to

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito