August 11, 2012
Clathrus crispus is a fungus in the stinkhorn family. It is also known as the latticed stinkhorn for the shape it takes after emerging from its protective volva. As illustrated above, C. crispus is a brilliant red when freshly emerged before paling in color as it breaks down. The fruiting body begins decomposing first at the grooves which are also the site of spore dispersal. Insects are attracted to these sites by a fetid odor for which this type of fungus is named. These insects accumulate spores from the olived-colored gleba before spreading them to other locales where decomposition is likely.
The edibility of C. crispus has not been official determined because of their odor. In general stinkhorns are edible when in the “egg stage”–entirely contained in the white volva. In parts of Europe and Asia, these “eggs” are pickled fresh and sold.
This and other Clathrus species are saprobic. See also Clathrus archeri.
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