Field Guide: Dog stinkhorn

Oct 9, 2020

The dog stinkhorn fungus is often found along woodland edges, but it can also thrive in wood chips. A landscaped island in the Oryana West parking lot in Traverse City provided the right environment for a small colony of dog stinkhorns, including this one.
Credit Cheryl Bartz

Mushrooms and fungi are coming up thanks to rain and cooler temperatures. Many are not safe to eat, but there's one fungus you will never be tempted to eat. In fact, if the wind is right, it will have you checking the bottoms of your shoes. 

 

Dog stinkhorn looks like an upside-down carrot with brown glop on the top. There’s a reason for that stench. The brown goo is made of spores and it smells to attract flies. The spores stick to flies that then spread the fungus.

 

 

This odd fungus is native to Michigan. A dog stinkhorn will melt away after just a few days.  But the fungus is still alive underground in a white, egg-like structure that awaits just the right conditions to erupt again.