What is this??? It is the weirdest thing! Some kind of fungus? Usually I am pretty good at researching answers myself, but this is harder, not knowing what words to search for. I found thing in my front yard - in Southern Calif, about 6 miles from the coast, slightly south of Los Angeles. It was mostly underground, with just a white knob visible at ground level. No stem, no gills.
At first I thought it was some ordinary mushroom, but no way! This is filled with clear GOO! Could it be from outer space? Is it a plant, egg, or other being? What the heck is this? (I washed my hands after touching it, just in case) :-)
Small skinny root at bottom, white ball, some brown markings on one side. I don't remember which way the browned side was facing when I picked it up. (Sunburn?) Sort of looks like a pear shaped egg. About 1 inch tall,top to bottom. No major smell. The skin is sort of tough and flexible. But it was cracked when I noticed it (or maybe because I grabbed it), which is how I noticed the strange clear gelatin goo, with white jelly and a brownish, greyish dark center. Aakk! =:-0
I've seen these things only a couple of times before, and even after searching everywhere, I still don't know what it is. I already searched Daves Garden for "fungus" and looked at 14 pages of results, but maybe what I found is rare? A helpful person linked to the WMMA Mushroom Key, but they didn't have a photo of this gooey filled weirdness. http://www.fungaljungal.org/key/key.html
Maybe I already killed it by poking it open, but because I'm curious, I put it into a small pot of compost after taking the photos. Please take a look at the 5 photos I posted today (all of the same one thing) and tell me if you know what this is. It was growing by itself, just the one.
I sort of wondered that too. It does kind of look like an egg, but with a little thread of a root. No snakes around here that I have seen. We do have some lizards, but this is way too big compared to the little lizards we get around here. Since I posted this, I have kept on researching fungus & mushrooms but haven't found anything gooey like this thing. What a mystery!
I think you may have found one of these stinkhorn fungi; but not matured yet. Please read this excellent article by Michael Kuo - http://www.mushroomexpert.com/phallaceae.html
Unfortunately I can't help you any further, you might just have to go back to the place where you found this and see if there are any others more mature.
Other types of mushrooms arise from "eggs" but do not have the slime factor.
I have new photos! Turns out the trick is you have to get out there and look in the morning. And it seems to me that these things only last a very short while, maybe just 1 morning.
Oh, about that "egg" I originally found... It totally dried up to almost nothing by the end of that 1st day. The goo b gone!
Here are some photos I took today showing what interesting thing grew out of those "eggs". It was about 9:20 am, and this is not far from Los Angeles, Southern California. For size, that is a nickle in the photos. (except for the photo with the flies on it, that was taken after 1pm)
These things must almost explode upwards quickly and with force, because I noticed a dirt chunk was usually broken up next to some of these plants.
I had to get really close to notice it, but there is a bit of a fresh poop smell, light yet sharp & yukky. The flies are all over it. Smell was something that was often referred to as a clue to the identity.
So it does appear to be a STINKHORN of some kind. It's just so interesting!!!
Thanks very much everybody for your help.
I took some more photos this afternoon. Most of the STINKHORNS are all dried up already. Check it out! This is what they look like in the afternoon. Not much left, and you can see the hole where the "egg" thing used to be. I guess it converts all that goo into vertical growth so fast it leaves an egg shaped hole. The flies will take the spores to their next home. How very interesting. Thanks again to everyone here at Dave's Garden!
Based on the most helpful link to the Stinkhorn website (thank you SoooSirius!), it looks to me like this plant is closest to the Mutinus ravenelii. (Photo at very bottom of that web page, look for photo labels) http://www.mushroomexpert.com/mutinus_elegans.html
I will note that we never saw anything even similar to this until we tore out our lawn & replaced it with drought tolerant plants, stones and Diamondia. Since these Stinkhorns are appearing in and near the Diamondia, I'm going to guess they came in with that dirt. We did also buy shredded wood (not bark, wood) from the same place, but I haven't seen any Stinkhorns in the areas covered by shredded wood.
Thanks for the great comments!
Camera is a (green) Canon S1100 IS point & shoot. I did try to make sure it focused on the fungus. I uploaded the photo at what iPhoto calls "Large" size (one step down from "Original".
More of these Stinkhorns are popping up this morning! It is just unbelievable how they can grow 4 inches overnight to pop out of the ground, then shrivel up into nothing by afternoon!
Thanks again everybody for your help! This has been fun.
Is this the same kind of Stinkhorn fungi? I noticed it yesterday and thought it looked like a Snale on the end of it cause it was slimy looking but it wasn't a snale and there is mulch in that bed. If so is it caused by the mulch?
This is 2 different ones in the same bed a few inches from each other.
Glad I could help. I just had a feeling that what you were seeing was just the "eggs".
Mr. Kuo's site is a great resource for amateur mycologists and the just plain curious.
And to answer your question Ryguy, the spores of these mushrooms are spread by insects as they land on or walk through the slime and then fly or walk to another place. And that is how they get into the mulch material.
I have some pic's of what I believe is the same type of fungi and was trying to see if anyone knew what it is. I'm was in the bay area near mouth of Sacramento river. There are many types of trees in the area, oak, pine, redwood etc. and this is along a driveway at the Commandant's House in Benicia. I popped this one out of the ground and found the pink skirt under it.
Gtoolmaker. Since this is marked solved, very few folks will see it. Please look at the top of the ID page and open a new thread with your pictures. I am not sure, but could be a stinkhorn...here is info and some pics of the different form of fungi..
Hi Moon - I missed this one the first time around (could have saved myself a lot of work). You're right about starting a new thread, but I clicked on this one only because of the new post - thanks Gtoolmaker.
I too had the same strange visitor to my yard and after reading through and clicking on the helpful links (thanks all!) I discovered I'd found my very first stinkhorn! YUK! But even better, thanks to you specifically, I was also able to name the giant softball-sized mushroom that had popped up in the middle of my lawn (puffball) this past summer AND the LICHEN (bright orange!) that started showing up in one of my flower beds 2 years ago... I was panicked about it but now I know they aren't harmful (although I probably will still pick it out, I won't worry if my miss a few). It's good to know that these 'delicate' creatures find my garden environment so healthy!