Major Groups > Stinkhorns > Clathrus chrysomycelinus


Clathrus chrysomycelinus

[ Agaricomycetes > Phallales > Phallaceae > Clathrus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

If I have identified it correctly, the illustrated specimen may represent the first documentation of Clathrus chrysomycelinus in the United States. It was growing under cottonwoods and willows in an Arizona riverbottom--in woods rather than in a more typical setting for stinkhorns, like someone's garden, or in woodchips--and was photographed by a curious nature lover. I have based my identification on the photo alone; no specimen was preserved for study.

Clathrus chrysomycelinus is one of a few white (rather than red or orange) species of Clathrus, and it can be separated from the other white species on the basis of its arms, which are not notably flattened on the outer surfaces and do not feature prominent and regular, sharpened points; its small "glebifers" (structures that produce the spore slime, located on the inner surfaces of the arms); and the bright yellow rhizomorphs attached to its base (not visible in the photo). The species was originally described from Brazil, and has since been documented in Venezuela and in Central America.


Ecology: Saprobic; the illustrated collection grew alone under cottonwoods and willows in a wooded, riparian ecosystem, in late summer, in Arizona; previously described from Brazil, Venezuela, and Jamaica; documented in Panama and Costa Rica.

Immature Fruiting Body: Like a yellowish to brownish "egg" 2-5 cm across; base attached to bright yellow rhizomorphs; when sliced revealing the stinkhorn-to-be encased in a greenish brown gelatinous substance.

Fruiting Body: Up to about 8 cm high; consisting of an irregularly oval to egg-shaped, cage-like, latticed structure composed of slender arms that are joined near the base, where they are encased in a gelatinous, whitish to yellowish or brownish volva; arms lumpy and corrugated, not prominently flattened on the outer surface, roughly triangular and composed of 1-4 tubes in cross-section, white or dull yellowish (especially near the top of the structure); meshes 4-6-sided, often elongated vertically near the bottom of the "cage"; with very small glebifers at the intersections of the lattices, on the inner side of the structure, producing points of olive brown to brown spore slime; odor fruity and sweet.

Microscopic Features: Spores 3.5-4 x 1.5-2.5 µ; long-ellipsoid to cylindric; smooth.

REFERENCES: Möller, 1895. (Saccardo, 1895; Lloyd, 1909; Dennis, 1960; Dring, 1980; Calonge et al., 2005.)

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Clathrus chrysomycelinus

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Kuo, M. (2011, April). Clathrus chrysomycelinus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: