Major Groups > Stinkhorns > Phallus duplicatus


Phallus duplicatus

[ Agaricomycetes > Phallales > Phallaceae > Phallus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

As if stinkhorns like Phallus impudicus and Mutinus elegans weren't odd enough, this incredible mushroom had to go and add "adorned with a lace doily" to the list of possible stinkhorn features--along with the old standbys (being covered with a foul-smelling slime, arising from little underground "eggs," growing to full size fast enough that you can actually get the lawnchairs out and watch it happen, and so on).

Sometimes called the "Netted Stinkhorn," Phallus duplicatus frequently grows in urban habitats in eastern North America. It is easily distinguished from the other North American stinkhorns by its astonishing net-like skirt, which hangs daintily below the cap. Its close relative, Phallus indusiatus, is a tropical species with a more impressive and elaborate skirt.

Dictyophora duplicata is a synonym.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously in gardens, flowerbeds, meadows, lawns, woodchips, cultivated areas, and so on--also in hardwood forests; summer and fall; fairly common east of the Rocky Mountains, especially in the southeast, and in Texas; also found in Mexico.

Immature Fruiting Body: Like a flesh-colored to whitish "egg" 4-7 cm high; when sliced revealing the stinkhorn-to-be encased in a gelatinous substance.

Mature Fruiting Body: Spike-like, 5-17 cm. high; with a "cap" area that is pitted and ridged by maturity, and covered with a slimy, malodorous, olive-brown substance that eventually wears off (or is carried away by flies), exposing a whitish to light brown surface; with a white stem that arises from a white to pinkish or purplish, sacklike volva; with a laced, white or sometimes pinkish "skirt" hanging 3-6 cm from the bottom edge of the cap (sometimes collapsing against the stem).

Microscopic Features: Spores 3.5-4 x 1.5-2 µ; elliptical or flattened.

REFERENCES: Bosc, 1811. (Saccardo, 1888; Lloyd, 1909; Coker & Couch, 1928; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; Guzmán, Montoya & Bandala, 1990; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Metzler & Metzler, 1992; Roody, 2003; Calonge, 2005; Calonge et al., 2005; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006.)

A Peek at the Development of Phallus duplicatus

In 2004, Deina Zartman found a Phallus duplicatus egg which she took home and successfully "hatched" in a bowl. The photos to the right illustrate the stinkhorn's development, and raise some very interesting questions. Note that the "skirt" develops slowly, and lengthens downward as the stinkhorn develops; it can barely be seen in the second photo of the series, but is fairly lengthy by the third photo. Also note that the cap is smooth in the second photo, and has not yet developed the characteristic pitted and ridged surface. In this context, the skirt almost appears to be a sterile extension of the reticulation that develops.

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Phallus duplicatus

Phallus duplicatus

Phallus duplicatus

Phallus duplicatus

Phallus duplicatus

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