Stink horns

Saprobic fungi with mature fruiting bodies a wide variety of often bizarre shapes. Immature fruiting bodies enclosed in an outer layer of tissue, the so-called 'egg' stage. Spore masses brown, slimy, with an unpleasant smell. Spores are dispersed by the flies and other insects attracted to the very smelly spore-masses. The fruiting bodies of most genera open in basket-like fashion or with tapering arms, but a few remain closed, and may be superficially similar to the truffle-like fungi.


NameImageDescriptionNZFungi Entry


Aseroe, the flower fungus, has a white stalk-like base and several tapering bright red arms. Aseroe has free arms, and at the top of the stalk there is a flat, perforated disc, from which the paired arms arise.
Saprobic on soil and litter. Often in disturbed sites in natural areas.
Anthurus is very similar, distinguished by the lack of a flat disc and by the arms ...


Although related to the stinkhorns, the fruiting body of this fungus appears to be truffle-like. Initially a reddish brown, globose ball, it splits at maturity to reveal the white, spore-containing ‘egg’. About 5 cm diameter.
This is the only species of the genus Claustula, and is known from only two locations in New Zealand, as well as in Tasmania. In both countries it is listed as th...


The basket fungus.
Ileodictyon cibarium is common and widespread, sometimes seen in large numbers on wood chip mulches. There may be another undescribed species from sand dunes, with fewer, more robust lattice-like branches than the common species.


Simple, erect clubs, the fertile layer usually near the apex.Very fragile.
Poorly understood taxonomically, there may be several exotic species in New Zealand.


Fruiting body with prominent, cylindrical sterile lobes, the fertile portion confined to the base.
Not common. Saprobic on soil and litter.


A stinkhorn in which the outer ‘egg’ layer remains more or less intact. With very robust rhizomorphs extending from the base, and with a layer of elongate, gelatinous locules surrounding the internal mass of spores. Resembles the unopened ‘eggs’ of Ileodictyon.
Three species have been reported from New Zealand. P. nothofagi differs from the species illustrated below in having ...


A stinkhorn in which the 'egg' opens to release three whitish arms which often remain somewhat joined near the top.
A single New Zealand species.