Sunday, May 18, 2008

What Is It?

Gink Summers called yesterday evening and wanted to know the objects he found growing beside the Glenville Presbyterian Church. Gink was excellent in his descriptions and I knew immediately what the beast was that perplexed him.

I went the next day to the church to confirm my identification. Being a seasoned biologist, I know that it is essential to confirm the identification by personal observations. I was correct!

Because of the many days of wet weather, the many fungi population and varieties are growing well. This beast was Mutinus caninus, better know as dog penis stinkhorn.

Stinkhorns frequently bewilder people by popping up in lawns, thrusting their slime-covered tips into the world within a matter of hours. They have been much maligned over the years, probably because--well, because they stink and they often look like penises (human, canine, or alien). Unlike other mushrooms, the stinkhorn distributes its spores by applying an odorous, spore-thick slime to its tip, which flies and other insects are attracted to. The flies then carry the spores to other places.


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