Skip to main content
close x

Key To Map

Choose the categories you would like to display on the map.

Choose the categories to be display on the map



If you happen to smell rotting flesh as you walk through the woods, it may well come from an aptly named Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus).

The unpleasant smell is produced by the thick sticky brown mass which contains the spores, covering the top. Flies are attracted to it and the sticky substance sticks to their feet and thereby the fungal spores are transported to another location. It is a unique method of spore dispersal.

Stinkhorns can grow in groups or be solitary, and mature very rapidly, often overnight, although the entire structure is not very robust or long lasting and it may be a case of ‘here today and gone tomorrow’.

Whilst living in a somewhat less liberal Victorian England, Henrietta, one of the great Charles Darwin’s daughters, was horrified by the phallic looking Stinkhorn fungus. She did her best to tread on, and squash, all the ones she saw growing – or else she collected them in a napkin covered basket to bring them home to burn. She especially targeted those in their own garden to stop the maid servants in the house being influenced by them. She even singlehandedly began a campaign to have all fruiting bodies of the fungus removed from the English countryside.

Stinkhorn PAUL BROCK

ID Tip

ID Tip

The fruiting body commences life in the leaf litter as a gelatinous white egg-like structure from which a thick hollow stem up to 20 cm long will grow, when conditions are favourable.

Newsletter Image





Six free walking routes when you sign up for New Forest Newsletter

Subscribe to New Forest National Park Authority

By entering your email below you are consenting to us sending you newsletters. To unsubscribe, email More info:

I think you mistyped your email
Your interests (tick at least one)

Please select one

By signing up to this form you are consenting to receive emails from us. Each email will contain a link to your personal reference settings where you can opt-out or change which emails you receive from us. Please read our Privacy Policy for more information about how we use data.

Subscribe to New Forest National Park Authority

Thanks, your subscription has been confirmed. You've been added to our list and your New Forest walking pack is on its way to you, including a link to download our free app.