Facts on the Stinkhorn Fungus

Updated July 19, 2017

The stinkhorn fungus is a type of mushroom that smells downright foul. That smell attracts flies, which ingest and carry stinkhorn spores to new locations. Wherever the spores land, mature stinkhorns can pop up (literally) overnight.


There are two general types of stinkhorn fungus: the Phallaceae, which have unbranched stems, and the Clathraceae, which have branched stems or lattice structures.


Stinkhorn fungi vary widely from species to species, but all stinkhorns have two features in common: a stinky slime for flies and a stalk that emerges from an egg-shaped growth.


The stinkhorn has a wide distribution. In the United States, stinkhorn fungus grows as far north as Minnesota and Wisconsin and as far south as South Carolina and Florida.


Once stinkhorn fungus takes root in your garden, it's there to stay. Fortunately, stinkhorn fungus is harmless to flowers, trees and shrubs.

Fun Fact

Because of their suggestive shapes, the Phallus and Dictyophora stinkhorns are sold as aphrodisiacs in China.

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About the Author

Joel Michaels holds a B.A. in languages and literature as well as a teaching degree in English as Second Language. He has been freelance writing on education, politics, religion and related topics since 2006.