Stinkhorn fungi
  • Last updated:
  • 06 Oct 2022

Article by Mandy Botterell, Community Conservation Support Officer and images by Michael Mills, Community Conservation Officer, Sunshine Coast Council

What is that smell?

If this fungus is fruiting near the path at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, you might smell it before you see it.

The anemone stinkhorn grows on the forest floor where the leaf litter is thick and woody debris is decomposing. It is a widespread species and was the first fungus to be described in Australia.

The top of the fungus is covered in a brown slime, that produces an odour like faeces or rotting meat. The slime contains the spores of the fungus and is a secret distribution weapon. The smell attracts flies which then spread the spores.