June 8, 2014
Genus Clathrus includes a number of fungus known as stinkhorns. See also Clathrus crispus.
Clathrus archeri is commonly known as octopus stinkhorn. True to its name, three to eight red tentacles emerge upon maturation. These tentacles disperse spores using insects attracted to carrion or decaying plant matter.
While stinkhorns may be edible, the odors for which they are named render them unappetizing. Though sometimes their smell is not overpowering; C. archeri definitely attracts insects, but it only smells slightly of a freshwater lake.
Stinkhorn eggs, the fruiting bodies before the tentacles emerge, are edible. Look for them near the easily spotted brilliant red structures. The illustration here depicts both the tentacle and egg structures.
This and other 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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