Phallus ravenelii

Taxobox
name = Ravenel's Stinkhorn


image_width = 220px
image_caption = Mature specimen after losing most spore slime in Williamsburg, Virginia
regnum = Fungi
divisio = Basidiomycota
classis = Agaricomycetes
ordo = Phallales
familia = Phallaceae
genus = "Phallus"
species = "P. ravenelii"
binomial = "Phallus ravenelii"
binomial_authority= Berk. & M.A.Curtis

"Phallus ravenelii", commonly known as Ravenel's stinkhorn, is a fungus present in eastern North America. Its mushrooms commonly grow in large clusters and are noted for their foul odour and phallic shape when mature. It is saprobic, and as such it is encountered in a wide variety of habitats rich in wood debris from forests to mulched gardens or saw dust piles in urban areas, appearing from August to October. The fruiting structure is tall and white with a head covered in a fetid greenish spore slime, which attracts flies to spread the spores. Ravenel's stinkhorn's lack of rough ridges on the cap differentiates it from the closely related "Phallus impudicus". The fungus is named after Henry William Ravenel, a botanist who first discovered it in 1846, though it remained undescribed until 1873.citation| last=Peck| first=Charles H.| title=An Imperfectly-Described Phalloid| journal=Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club| volume=9| number=10| year=October 1882| page=123-124
url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0040-9618%28188210%299%3A10%3C123%3AAIP%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Z
]

Description

The mushroom's head ranges from 1.5 to 2 cm (5/8 to 1 5/8 inches) in width by 3 to 4.5 cm (1 1/4 to 1 3/4 inches) in height. Its texture is finely granular and it is attached to a white open circlet at the top where it meets the stalk. The lower margin of the head is free and there is a membranous veil that is partially concealed beneath. Spore slime covers the head and is olive-green to dark brown in colour, slimy in texture and foul smelling. The stinking slime is often covered in flies, who are attracted to spread the spores. The spores measure 3 to 4.5 µm by 1 to 2 µm, are colourless, elliptical in shape and smooth in texture.citation| last=Kuo| first=M.| year=November 2004| title=Phallus ravenelii| location=Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Website| url=http://www.mushroomexpert.com/phallus_ravenelii.html] citation| last=Lincoff| first=Gary H.| year=1981| title=National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms| page=835-836| publisher=Random House| location=New York| isbn=0-394-51992-2]

The hollow stalk is 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) tall and 1.5 to 3 cm (5/8 to 1 1/4 inches) thick. It can range in colour from slightly yellowish to white. At the stalk's base there is usually a white to pink volva (a sac-like cup). When immature, the fruiting body is encapsulated within the volva, which later soon ruptures as the mushroom emerges. The vovla attaches to the ground with whitish rhizomorphs (thick, cord-like strands of mycelia).

Distribution and habitat

Ravenel's stinkhorn is widespread in eastern North America, from Quebec in the north, south to Florida and west to Iowa and Ohio. West of the Mississippi, the common stinkhorn ("Phallus impudicus") becomes more dominant.

As a saprobic mushroom, or decomposer of organic material, Ravenel's stinkhorn can be found in almost any habitat that includes decaying wood. They are most often found growing gregariously, though occasionally singly, on wood chips, rotten tree stumps or sawdust. They are common in urban flowerbeds, parks and lawns, as well as in meadows, cultivated areas and woods.

References

Further reading

*citation| last=Howard| first=Kenneth L.; Bigelow, Howard E.| title=Nutritional Studies on Two Gasteromycetes: Phallus ravenelii and Crucibulum levis| journal=Mycologia| volume=61| number=3| year=May - June 1969| page=606-613
url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0027-5514%28196905%2F06%2961%3A3%3C606%3ANSOTGP%3E2.0.CO%3B2-P

External links

*commons-inline
* [http://www.mushroomexpert.com/phallus_ravenelii.html Mushroom Expert Profile]


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