This amazing tropical stinkhorn features a long and elaborate "skirt." In North America, it is found in the southern provinces of Mexico; northward it is replaced by the short-skirted Phallus duplicatus. Readers who have seen the Discovery Channel's Planet Earth series may remember the stunning time-lapse photography sequences of Phallus indusiatus rising from the ground, then gracefully extending its net-like skirt. Phallus indusiatus is "edible," at least in the egg stage--but I don't recommend experimenting. Description: Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously in woods, especially in disturbed-ground areas (ditches, paths, road sides, and so on); also common in urban settings; year-round; distributed in North America from roughly the 24th parallel southward (southern Mexico). Immature Fruiting Body: Like a whitish brownish or purplish "egg"; when sliced revealing the stinkhorn-to-be encased in a gelatinous substance. Mature Fruiting Body: Spike-like; to 25 cm high; with a "cap" area that is pitted and ridged, and covered with a slimy, olive-brown substance that eventually wears off (or is carried away by flies), leaving a light brown coloring; usually developing a perforation at the top; with a white stem that arises from a white, sacklike volva; with a laced, white to yellow, orange, or pink "skirt" hanging up to 15 cm from the bottom edge of the cap; odor unpleasant or strongly sweet. Microscopic Features: Spores 2.5-3.5 x 1-1.5 µ; long-elliptical to nearly cylindric. Dictyophora indusiata is a synonym.
- Foot note by Michael Kuo