Phallus rubicundus is the name of this odd looking mushroom in the family of stinkhorns.
It’s up to 20 cm long fruit bodies emerge and grow within few hours on warm and moist Spring or Autumn days. Organic matter and mulch offer them great growing conditions. They topple over and decay within a day or two.
All members of the stinkhorn family show fascinating and eye-catching shapes. Some have tentacles or look like baskets or lace. Others, like our find, are phallus shaped. They all have two common features: they emerge from an egg shaped body that is in the ground and they produce a sticky spore mass.
Our stinkhorn features a 3 to 4.5 cm conical cap, separated from the stem, which distinguishes it from other, similar looking stinkhorns.
The cap is coated in the greenish brown spore mass which can sometimes smell repugnant in order to attract insects that help spread the spores.
While the cap is smooth, the orange 1.5 cm thick stem is hollow inside. The walls of the stem are spongy and resemble foam rubber.
As odd they may look like, they don’t do any harm to our garden.