A friend called us over this afternoon to admire some “interesting” fungi growing in a wood-chip path in her garden. Very well worth the visit (nice to visit and chat anyway) because there was a large collection of fungi of the genus Mutinus. This genus being named after a phallic deity, Mutunus, one of the Roman di indigetes placated by Roman brides. Pretty obvious why that name was chosen.

Not entirely sure which of the dozen or so possible species in the genus it might be though probably either The Devil’s Dipstick (Mutinus elegans) or the Dog Stinkhorn (Mutinus caninus).

The Dog or Elegant Stinkhorn grows in small groups on wood debris, or in leaf litter, during summer and autumn in Europe, Asia, and eastern North America. It is not generally considered edible, although there are reports of the immature ‘eggs’ being consumed. You can see some of those eggs in the photographs. The Dog Stinkhorn is also a species of fungus in the Phallaceae family, found growing on the ground singly or in small groups on woody debris or leaf litter, during summer and autumn. It is extremely hard to tell these two apart and as Devil’s Dipstick is a common name also sometimes used for M. caninus we will consider that to be what this splendid fungus is.

Enjoy the photographs: