I'm in a Facebook group for Kentucky gardeners and yesterday someone posted a picture of something really strange growing from the ground. Some folks in the group commented their incorrect guesses.

"I thought it was imitation crab!"

"So it’s not poop on a carrot?"



Others knew right away what it was and issued warnings to the gardener.

"It lives up to its name!!!!"

"Stinkhorn! Some cool shaped and colored fungi! Enjoy its looks. Leave it be."

Who's That Fungi?

Well, it has several varieties and many names actually. Headless Stinkhorn, Dog Stinkhorn, Devil's Dipstick, Demon Fingers, how lovely! Its scientific name is Elegant Stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans) but I fail to see how this thing is anywhere close to elegant. I'll let you use your imagination as to what you'd compare it to. Their offensive scent has been described as "rotting flesh." Here is an interesting and innuendo-sprinkled video about them.

Is Elegant Stinkhorn Poisonous?

As the narrator said, the reason why it smells so horrible is to attract flies to spread the spores that live in the goo or "Gleba." While not technically toxic, it doesn't seem to be a commonly edible mushroom because a whiff would make most folks gag. The white ball that forms before the mushroom "sprouts" is the part typically served up when someone adventurous enough gives it a go. Like this guy who shares how he prepared Stinkhorn mushrooms.

What to Do if You Find Stinkhorn Mushroom in Your Garden

Stinkhorn is not harmful to your garden. Like all mushrooms, they help break down dead organic material in the dirt. You'll notice them more after longer periods of rain. Once they grow, they don't stick around for long, so you could leave them.  If you want to get rid of the smell, keep your dog from rolling in them, or to prevent more from growing, you can just pick them and throw them away.

Have you ever encountered this lovely fungus? Let me know on the App Chat.

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LOOK: Do you see faces in these photos?

Pareidolia refers to the ability to see recognizable shapes, often faces, in random objects. Take a look at the photos below and see if you can identify any faces or shapes. Some are easy to spot, while others might be more challenging.

Gallery Credit: Stephen Lenz

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