Mutinus caninus

Scientific nameMutinus caninus (Huds.) Fr. 
Derivation of name:  Cani- means "dog."
SynonymsPhallus caninus Huds.  
Common name(s):  Dog stinkhorn.
Phylum:   Basidiomycota
Order:   Phallales
Family:   Phallaceae
Occurrence on wood substrate: Saprobic; solitary or
grouped on soil, mulch, wood chips, and decaying wood;
August through October.   
Dimensions: Fruit body 7-12 cm tall and 1-2 cm wide.
Description:  Fruit body at first a white to pinkish egg- like
stage, resembling a puffball. The egg is attached to the
substrate by white mycelial strands (rhizomorphs). The outer
wall (peridium) of the egg splits and a hollow, spongy, stalk
expands which is white to pinkish-red toward the tip and
paler to whitish toward the base. The stalk is more or less
the same thickness right up to the apex which quickly
tapers to a point. A slimy, olive-brown, fetid spore mass
covers the upper 1/4 or less (2-3 cm) of the fruit body.   
Edibility:  The egg stages are edible.        
Comments: Flies are attracted to the fetid slimy mass and
serve to disperse the spores. Compare this species with
Mutinus elegans and consult the website below for further
comments on these two species.

More information at
More information at   

Figure 1. This is a miserable picture of a specimen
from a NEMF foray. Note the small proportion of the
stipe occupied by the olive-green spore mass.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 2. John Plischke III tentatively identified this
specimen as Mutinus caninus. Photo © John Plischke III.

Figure 2. A specimen with an entirely white stipe.
This is sometimes called Mutinus caninus var.
albus. Photo © Steve Nelsen.

Figure 3. Specimens and "eggs" of Mutinus caninus var.
albus. Photo © Steve Nelsen.


Home | Shape key | Glossary

This page © 2008 by Gary Emberger, Messiah College