Skip to main content

The common stinkhorn stinks to attract blowflies amongst other flies/insects with its smell of rotting meat. It’s quite easy to find based on the stench but also the evidence of a badger sett nearby is normally means I feel like I might stumble across it.

GeorgeFlavour Fred
Often referred to as Charles Darwin’s granddaughter remarked in her 1952 memoir “Period Piece - A Cambridge Childhood” how Henrietta “Etty” Darwin, her Aunt (Darwin’s daughter), would go out into the woods, remove these phallic mushrooms and burn/destroy them. This was done to protect the morals of the maids.

You’ll also find it referred to as “deadman’s cock” or “prike mushroom”. From John Gerard author of Gerard’s Herbal, 1597.

Blowflies and other insects are attracted by the smell but the mushroom has another plan to spread its spores. It’s the slimy gleba (on top means “lump”) holds the spores. So essentially the flies and insects that chow down on the stinking slimy spore packed gleba take it to their next stop as well as have many spores in the process sticking to their legs from the gel on the stinkhorn. Next stop some faeces of a dead animal.

So here we have the witches egg where the phallic mushroom erupts out of. When sliced open has the mixture of colours and textures that when placed in front of your eyes looks like those in many books/films/series about witches.

Part of the inside is edible and some eat it for the radish like flavour (raw) but I’m not a fan.


Author george

More posts by george