Major Groups > Stinkhorns > Lysurus cruciatus


Lysurus cruciatus

[ Agaricomycetes > Phallales > Phallaceae > Lysurus . . . ]

by Ron Meyers

When a friend contacted me to ask about a stinkhorn in his yard, he gave a good description. I suggested he look at Lysurus mokusin as a likely candidate. He said it did indeed look like that mushroom, but there was a problem in that the stalk was round and not angular. Although I had never seen it before, I was sure we had the first report of Lysurus cruciatus in Kansas. When he brought me a specimen there was no doubt.

It was especially interesting because when we found Lysurus mokusin we attributed its appearance to fruiting on wood chips which could very well have been imported. But these mushrooms were on straw that had been cut and baled right on my friendís farm.

Lysurus borealis and Anthurus borealis are synonyms. Lysurus mokusin is similar but has a four- to six-sided stem and fused arms which normally remained joined.


Ecology: Saprobic; apparently introduced to North America through human activity; growing alone, in groups, or clustered in lawns, gardens, under trees, on humus, woody debris, or straw; widely distributed in various parts of the United States, particularly California, where it is occasionally abundant.

Fruiting Body: Initially a white "egg" up to 5 cm across. When mature it is 6-15 cm high, consisting of a stem with a head composed of 4-7 (but usually 5) arms. The arms are initially incurved but not fused, and as the mushroom matures they separate slightly but do not unfold, remaining erect. The arms are 1-2.5 cm long, short and thick, hollow, and three-sided. The longitudinally grooved outer surface can vary in color from pallid to brownish, flesh-colored, orange or even red. The stem is 1-2 cm thick, and is usually tapered downward. It is hollow and white, or tinged yellowish above and white below. There is a volva around the stem base, attached to the ground with a whitish cord.

Flesh: Fragile; minutely chambered; white to yellowish.

Spore mass: Borne within the arms; slimy; olive to olive-brown and becoming darker as it dries; with a typically unpleasant stinkhorn odor.

Microscopic Features: Spores 3-4 x 1-2 µ; elliptical to oblong; smooth.

REFERENCES: (Leprieur & Montagne, 1845) Hennings, 1902. (Saccardo, 1888; Dring, 1980; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; Barron, 1999; Miller & Miller, 2006.)

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Lysurus cruciatus

Lysurus cruciatus

Lysurus cruciatus

Lysurus cruciatus

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Meyers, R. (2004, November). Lysurus cruciatus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: