by germinatrix | January 12th, 2010
It began innocently enough.
The Original Minion and I were lifting up my firepit and adding backfill (it had sunk quite a bit), and in the process he discovered a massing of lavender/purple egg shaped things.
At first I thought that squirrels have been stealing passionfruits from my vine and burying them near the firepit, but then I realized that my passionflower doesn’t fruit. What the EFF?
So in the spirit of investigation I cut one open and found it to be disgustingly gooey and gelatinous inside. Surely this was SOME sort of rotting fruit – the Minion and I had probably stumbled across a cache of buried delicacies for a creature with disgusting taste. But then I dug one up and saw that it had a thin spindly root! Huh?
I gathered them up and put them on a table so the firepit work could continue, and I went inside to figure out the mystery. What were these things?
I know you all are thinking – why all the mystery? It’s OBVIOUS what they are. But I was not going there. It couldn’t be!!! NO! It was too soon…
But the unspeakable was unspeakable to happen…
Yes. Stinkhorns. Again. A huge lavender mob of stinkhorn eggs.
If the Minion hadn’t found them, I would have had a mass of uber-phallic demonic mushrooms popping up right at the entrance to my kitchen, wafting their hellish aroma into the heart of my hearth and home! Why is this happening?
I’ve written about the mycelium before, the “Mother Fungus” that lives beneath the soil. They sometimes grow to gargantuan proportions – one in Michigan is said to be forty acres long and wide! The “Mother” is interwoven into the soil; fairly impossible to detect by the average gardener, so we won’t know that we have a mycelium under our feet until the mushrooms start sprouting… and sprouting … and sprouting. I have seen a few other stinkhorns around the neighborhood, and have smelled their presence on several other occasions, so I think the mycelium we have in Eagle Rock might be a big one.
I always thought this stinkhorn was Phallus impudicus, but the lavender “egg” identifies my stinkhorn as Phallus hadriani, which is supposedly rare in California. Not In My Back Yard! If there was a market for stinkhorns, I could make some real money. But nobody wants a malodorous and vile mushroom whose form offends! And get THIS! The fruiting body is the ‘phallus’ – so what do you think the perverted mushroom scientists named the egg? The ‘volva’! OMG – see what these maniacs did? They basically created a fungal hermaphrodite – a phallus emerging from a volva. (Yes this is getting a little NC-17, but we are all adults here, right? RIGHT?)
I was SHOCKED to see that the collection of volva I’d placed on my lovely orange tiled table were sprouting their phalluses right there, out of soil, seemingly out of their element. It doesn’t matter to them!
- they are bent on bursting open and stretching out and spreading the horrifying odor of rotting flesh to attract the flies that will carry the sticky spores to the rest of the world. Beware.
The terrifying invasion of the fungal hermaphrodites may have already begun…