WHAT IS IT?

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Q&A - Stu­art Black­man

Judg­ing by its com­mon name, there are at least two ways of look­ing at a bridal veil stinkhorn (its sci­en­tific name, Phal­lus in­du­sia­tus, mean­ing 'skirted pe­nis', makes it three). Ap­par­ently, there are also two ways of smelling it. In fact, the mushroom’s dis­tinc­tive odour seems to pro­voke re­ac­tions that are about as dif­fer­ent as it’s pos­si­ble for re­ac­tions to an odour to be. It is most com­monly de­scribed as smelling like some­thing has died (it at­tracts flesh flies to dis­trib­ute its spores), but a con­tro­ver­sial study pub­lished in a sci­en­tific jour­nal in 2001 claimed that its scent could in­duce mild spon­ta­neous or­gasms in women. Which is not to be sniffed at.

A mushroom that smells less pretty than it looks.

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