Florida: Octopus Stinkhorn Mushroom

Octopus Stinkhorn Mushroom in Our Backyard

Octopus Stinkhorn Mushroom in Our Backyard

Closed Octopus Stinkhorn Mushroom at St. Sebastian River Preserve

Closed Octopus Stinkhorn Mushroom at St. Sebastian River Preserve

Open Octopus Stinkhorn Mushroom at St. Sebastian River Preserve

Open Octopus Stinkhorn Mushroom at St. Sebastian River Preserve

The most incredible mushroom is growing in our backyard here in Florida – the octopus stinkhorn.  As you can imagine, it lives up to its “stinky” name, and has arms like an octopus.  When I first saw it, I thought it looked like a red starfish with its arms closed together.  Now that I know what it is, I need to keep an eye on it and get a better quality photograph than this one taken with my cell phone.  The octopus stinkhorn mushroom originally came from Australia, and probably got exported with sheep’s wool.  What a neat plant!  More info and pictures are at:  http://www.kuriositas.com/2013/10/fungtopus-incredible-fungus-that-looks.html.

UPDATE:  We saw the Octopus Stinkhorn Mushroom while out hiking at the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park – South Entrance trail in December 2014.  Pictures 2 and 3 are from that sighting.  A mere touch of a finger triggered the mushroom to open.

About Pam
Richard and Pam lived in the San Francisco Bay Area 14 years (1987-1999 and 2008-2011). They lived in Florida 13 years previously, until returning in July 2011 to present. They hope their photography will encourage you to get out and discover nature's beauty in your own backyard, parks, and wild places. Click on any pictures on this blog to see them full size with additional details.

13 Responses to Florida: Octopus Stinkhorn Mushroom

    • Pam says:

      It was the strangest mushroom that I’ve ever seen in Florida. After all these years in this area, I saw four for the first time in one day!

  1. Pam, when we lived in St. Augustine we had a few of these spring up (strangely enough over our septic tank drain field). They stank to the high heavens and had us totally mystified. Because of the horrific smell, we were afraid that something was wrong with the septic system. After some research, we finally decided that we had imported them with some mulch that we put down. That was a relief of sorts, but the smell … PU. ~James

    • Pam says:

      James, I love your mushroom story! Now I know that when I smell something stinky in the yard, it might be something as simple as a mushroom. Who knew? I’ve found a few now, and they were in completely scattered parts of the yard (but so far never on our drain field). I am fascinated by stinky plants. We love our stapeliad starfish flower. The best of all is the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanium). By chance we were in Sydney when one bloomed at the Conservatory, and it was awesome! If we get lucky sometime, occasionally one blooms at Fairchild Gardens in Miami and Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota.

  2. lauramacky says:

    It looks like an alien!

  3. This mushroom grows also in Germany and Switzerland, but it is very rare!

  4. elisaruland says:

    How unusual…both the name and the mushroom! Lucky you to find this fungus of wonder in your backyard, I look forward to more photographs!

    • Pam says:

      It was a fun find! I never know when they will pop up, and they last only a very short time. Here’s hoping I find another one soon!

  5. Tammie says:

    how wonderful that you found this
    i have never come across one
    i just love mushrooms
    but for now, we have a snowy realm….

    • Pam says:

      Snow is beautiful too, but I admit to being a warm climate girl. Mushrooms are very interesting. After the abundance of mushrooms in California, I never expected to run across such amazing mushrooms growing in the sand here in Florida. We have fairy rings in our yard all the time.

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