Stinkhorn Fungi

Stinkhorn Fungus – Aseroe rubra

Aseroe rubra

This alien thing was a rather surprising find in the garden surounding the frog pond! After a bit of searching through books and fungi sites on the Internet, it had a name. Commonly referred to as Starfish or Anemone Fungus, they love moist mulched gardens. Both these conditions have only recently been satisfied – new mulching around the plants and we’ve had quite a bit of rain. I’ve never seen such a weird thing in any garden anywhere.

Apparently, these fungi produce spore slime, which has an intense smell of rotting meat or sewage. Now I was not going to put my nose anywhere near this brown gooey mess as seen below but I can tell you the flies and insects love it.

Aseroe rubra

For more information and some lovely pics ( I really must get a macro lens for my camera) see this excellent site –
Hunter Valley Backyard Nature – Strange Stinkhorns

27 Responses to “Stinkhorn Fungi”

  1. Thank you we have recently noticed a couple of these strange fungi in our garden.. We noticed the smell first! We live in Sawtell, Coffs Harbour and our front garden receives little direct light and is mulched.

  2. Hi Denise,

    These fungi are indeed very strange. We have had no more since the ones pictured erupted from the mulch.

    Interesting that you smelt yours. It was the colour that drew my attention. I thought a bit of red rubbish had blown into the garden ( I didn’t have my glasses on! )


  3. Wow! This is an extremely strange plant. I just found it in my backyard and it STINKS ha. My mum has been a florist for 30 years and she’s never seen anything like it..

    I never expected it to grow so close to the beach. I’m right on the beach and I live no where near any forests or bushland.

    I thought it was a peice of rubbish lol

    Even through heaps of plastic bags, you can still smell it.

    I really thought I wouldn’t find it so easily on the internet but I searched for ‘star fungi’ and got it. Its so GROSS haha.

  4. Greatings,
    Thanks for article. Everytime like to read you.

    Have a nice day

  5. Thanks for the info. I can tell you the truth this strang looking smelling fungi will have an everlasting effect on my nostrills for ever. WHAT IN THE SMELL? LOL

  6. We have them growing from the woodchip mulch after very heavy rain. Freaky looking things, but I don’t notice any smell.

  7. Hello

    I have found a clump of these growing in chip bark mulch in my native garden. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’d never seen such a strange fungus.

  8. Have just come across this stinky thing in our yard. We also live in Coff’s. It’s been very humid. Poor cat! He was being blamed for the pooey smell in the garden until we found the plant.
    Does anyone know how long they last? It’s been there for a few days but appears closed up now…maybe because it looks darkish and as though a storm is coming up. Oh no! There’ll be more!

  9. Been in down town Booral now for 23 year’s, first time I have ever seen a stinkhorn in my lawn, thought the bird’s had drop a flower off the firewheel tree, so there yu go, live and learn every day, have had alot of other fungi’s around this year too, just hope it fine’s up for a bit, or I may start growing them on me boot’s,, Di

  10. LOL
    Hi Di, yes I agree. Time for some fine weather. Everything is damp… smells damp… like a wet dog. Sue 😀

  11. I found one Stinkhorn in my yard this morning but my neighbour behind me had about 8. They do indeed smell like sewage. I live at Sanctuary Point in the Shoalhaven and have never seen them before in my life. To touch the stem it is very spongy.

  12. Hi Margaret. You are brave! I wasn’t game to touch one!
    I have not seen any in our backyard since I posted those pictures.

  13. The first time I found this growing in my yard was because I found the dog (Callum) rolling in something disgusting, and smelling even worse after it. It is spreading. I dig it out and it grows back somewhere else.

  14. Ugh!

    I guess there are lots of fungi spores around your place.

  15. I have decided to let them grow and keep Callum away from them. They have a spectacular flower (if that is the term) and a fantastic talking point. So I will let nature be for a bit…..

  16. A great talking point for sure.

    I find it incredible that you could go through life without ever seeing one. There have been no more in our backyard since posting this topic and I’m somewhat disappointed.

  17. We’ve had 2 different types in Guildford NSW this summer after a lot a rain and humid weather. The starfish or anenome ones numbered 12 in one garden and some phallus rubicanus (thin orange spikes with black tops) keep popping up in tan bark near my letterbox. Fascinating, even my cat sits and looks at them LOL

  18. 12! wow! Great pics of your aliens in your blog and I can just imagine your cat staring at them. I wonder if a tentative paw has yet made contact!

    We have had no more sprout since my first encounter despite this humid weather. Everything else is thriving though, particularly the weeds. 🙂

  19. My grandson, Jack, found one of these in the Karawatha Forest, Brisbane, today. Was the highlight of the day.

  20. I understand completely as I felt the same way. Awesome would be the best description. Jack, I’m glad you had such a wonderful day.

  21. I’ve found around half a dozen of these in my garden on the NSW Central Coast (near the lake) over the last week or so. I too thought it was rubbish initially and blamed stray cats for the smell.
    Alien is a great way of describing their appearance!

  22. Spotted… half a dozen aliens on the Central Coast! They do get around.

    I find the replies here fascinating as most people I talk to have never seen these wonderful fungi and they seem to be short lived – well in my backyard anyway.

  23. I have found some in my garden in the mulch under a huge eucalyptus tree. Location of my garden:

    Balneario Solis

    Also thought they looked alien and disgusting when they started to go slimy. I’m near the beach too. Didn’t notice a smell, but didn’t like to get too close either!!!

  24. Hi Susan,
    Wow, Uruguay, South America. Its fascinating to learn that these fungi are so common that they spring up all over the world yet many of us rarely see them up close. I’ve not seen anymore in our backyard and perhaps I never will.
    Thank you for dropping by and sharing your encounter with Stinkhorn Fungi.

  25. Yes, it’s amazing, isn’t it? Obviously the conditions are all very similar – thick mulch and very damp. We’ve had a lot of rain here recently. Had never seen anything like them before. It’s been great sharing this with all of you in Australia. All the best

  26. I found one of these growing in my backyard under a mac nut tree that I’d mulched heavily this spring. I live in Kula on Maui @ 3200 ft elevation on Mt Haleakala. I’d seen them regularly at sea level when I lived on the North Shore of Kauai which has much more rainfall. Thank you for helping me id this unusual fungus

  27. Hi Karen. Amazing to hear about them popping up around the world. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂