Following a trail of a horrendous odor, we were presented with this strange-looking organism. This is a Long Net Stickhorn (Dictyophora indusiata), a fungus in the Phallaceae family – a family that is filled with unusual-looking members.
Picture of D. indusiata in bloom.
The distinct odor produced by D. indusiata is a part of their reproductive strategy. By emitting scents that resemble rotten meat and dung, it attracts flies to approach and therefore assist in spore dispersal. Spores and slime are produced at the very top, leading down to a delicate skirt-like net that all the way to the ground.
This is the first time these peculiar fungi made their appearance in this planter. We suspect the soil amendment of a mix of biochar, compost and sand that was done a year ago has made this possible. We are stoked!
Zooming in on the skirt-like net up-close.
A number of flies got attracted by the strong odor.
A photo showing the very delicate skirt-like net.
In our visit in the afternoon, we found that more than half of the D. indusiate has been eaten by a couple of snails.
There is a limited window to catch this fungus in bloom, for it only blooms for a short period of time in the morning. We went back later in the day only to find that a large proportion has already been devoured by a couple of snails, leaving only fragments of it.