Look What Turned Up in the Garden – Common Stinkhorn

In fact two of these little fellers turned up in the garden.

And that’s not sexist writing. Its Latin name is Phallus Impudicus and according to Wikipedia: “Botanist John Gerard called it the “pricke mushroom” or “fungus virilis penis effigie” in his General Historie of Plants of 1597, and John Parkinson referred to it as “Hollanders working toole” or “phallus hollandicus” in his Theatrum botanicum of 1640.[2] Linnaeus described it in his 1753 Species Plantarum,[3] and it still bears its original binomial name. Its specific epithet, impudicus, is derived from the Latin for “shameless” or “immodest”.[4]

Apparently, they smell like rotting flesh. The two in my garden didn’t, or maybe I didn’t get close enough to find out. This might explain a folkloric name for the fungus of deadman’s cock.


Charles Darwin’s daughter Hetty reputedly collected stinkhorns from the woods and burnt them in secret. This was purportedly to protect the morals of the housemaids but I read that Hetty was a neopagan, so maybe truth was she had other uses for the fungus, especially given that immature stinkhorn are known as witches’ eggs.

They tend to grow near tree stumps. By way of corroboration, they’re situated in my garden close to a mound that’s grown over a tree stump.

Which is near to the waterlily pond that I’m drawing at present. Will they turn up in future artworks? Maybe. I’m thinking horizontals and verticals.

And believe it or not the Common Stinkhorn is edible.

I won’t be eating it any time soon.






About AnnIsikArts

Artist/Writer/Chess Enthusiast/Musician (Singer)/Gardener
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