Pseudocolus fusiformis

Scientific name:  Pseudocolus fusiformis (E. Fisch.)
Derivation of nameFus- means "spindle," form-
means "shape or appearance" in reference to the long,
spindle-shaped arms. 
SynonymsColus fusiformis E. Fisch.; Pseudocolus
(Sumst.) P. Micheli 
Common name(s): Stinky squid.
Phylum:   Basidiomycota
Order:   Phallales
Family:   Phallaceae
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
egg-like 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.    
Edibility: Inedible. 
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. Additional specimens of stinky squid on wood chip
mulched path. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 3. Close-up of specimens in Figure 2. Two detached
and unopened "eggs" are at the bottom right and the mature
specimen on the right was also detached from the substrate in
order to show the white rhizomorphs. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 4. Stalk emerging from ruptured "egg" of Pseudocolus
. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 5. 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.

Figure 6. As always, flies find the spore mass of stinkhorns
irresistible. Photo © Gary Emberger.


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