June 24, 2014
While the mature from of Clatrus archeri may be edible, few actually know; Clathrus species compose the group of fungi known as “stinkhorns,” and true to their name, they smell. These fungi mimic decaying organic material with a fetid odor to attract insects for spore dispersal.
However, the olive-brown, spore-containing slime is only apparent when the receptaculum emerges from the volva (as with the mature form illustrated here). When immature, the entirety of the of the eventual receptaculum is protected in the sometimes-subterranean volva as illustrated above. Generally in stinkhorns, this is known as the “egg” form. They are edible.
The stinkhorn egg illustrated here has been rinsed under a faucet, but some traces of dirt remain. They persist locked into the skin of this mushroom even when a toothbrush is used to gently free the majority of the trapped debris.
This and the more apparent mature stage of C. archeri were found in a pile of felled Blue Gum eucalyptus trees near Choachi in Colombia on the hike up to the top of Cerro el Quinto. There were more in the nearby pastureland, but in early June this was an especially good stand.
Both the trees and fungus have been introduced to Colombia from Tasmania.
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