Scientific name: Pseudocolus fusiformis (E. Fisch.)
Derivation of name: Fus- means "spindle," form-
"shape or appearance" in reference to the long,
Synonyms: Colus fusiformis E. Fisch.; Pseudocolus
schellenbergiae (Sumst.) P. Micheli
Common name(s): Stinky squid.
Occurrence on wood substrate: Saprobic; single to
several in wood chips used for landscaping, wood debris
or leaf litter;
July through September.
Dimensions: Fruitbody up to 6 cm tall and 1.5 to 3 cm
Description: Fruitbody at first a brownish to grayish
stage, resembling a puffball, with white
rhizomorphs. When the outer wall (peridium) of the egg
splits open, three to five slender, tapering, pink to orange
arching arms rise from a common stalk. The arms are
whitish at their bases and the tips are often united. The
greenish, slimy, fetid spore mass covers the inner
surfaces of the arms.
Comments: Gary Lincoff reports that this species was
first reported in North America in Pittsburgh in 1915
and has spread widely since then.
Figure 1. This specimen of Pseudocolus fusiformis was
growing on a wood chip mulched path. Photo © Fred
Figure 2. The tips of the arms are often held together and
the spore mass is distributed along the inner surfaces of the
arms. Photo © Dorothy Smullen.