E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Phallus impudicus L.

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Michael Beug  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #17387)

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Distribution of Phallus impudicus
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Species Information

develops from egg-shape into roughly cylindric fruiting body up to 25cm tall with stem up to 3cm wide, and head up to 4cm wide covered with dark olive foul-smelling slime, sack-like volva at stem base; var. imperialis differs from type variety only in having a pinkish rather than white volva (see also SIMILAR), and is found in CO, CA, TX, DC, (Lloyd); P. impudicus found CA, NM, UT, (Arora), it is rare in Pacific Northwest but found in BC (in Redhead(5)), WA (R. Sieger, pers. comm., L. Foreman, pers. comm.), ID (H. Barnhart, pers. comm.), MT (L. Evans, pers. comm.)
Fruiting body:
begins egg-shaped up to 6cm high, with outer covering white to yellowish white in one variety, lurid pinkish to purple in another, with gelatinous layer beneath, rupturing to form a volva as the stem elongates and thrusts the slimy swollen head upward; he
1.5-3cm wide, equal or narrowing at both ends, hollow, fragile; white or sometimes pinkish in lower part; minutely honeycombed (sponge-like); volva present at base as a white to pinkish or purple, loose, lobed sack formed by the ruptured outer covering; base usually with a thick, similarly colored mycelial cord or cords, (Arora), veil (indusium) thin and not extending appreciably below the margin of the fertile part, (Smith)
obnoxious, putrid, (Arora)
spores 3-5 x 1.5-2.5 microns, elliptic or oblong, smooth, (Arora), spores 3.7-4.2 x 1.3-2 microns, (Smith), spores 5-7 x 2-2.5 microns, elliptic, colorless, (Lincoff(1)), basidia 6-8-spored, (Schalkwijk-Barendsen)

Habitat / Range

single or in groups or clusters "in lawns, gardens, sandy or cultivated soil, under trees or shrubs, in rich humus, etc.", (Arora), in forests and gardens, and on compost, (Schalkwijk-Barendsen), spring, summer, late fall, (Lincoff(1))

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


not considered poisonous, but seldom eaten, (Arora), reportedly eaten in egg stage, but not recommended, (Lincoff), young poisonous Amanitas also have egg-like form

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Arora(1)*, Lloyd(3), Lincoff(1)*, Schalkwijk-Barendsen(1)*, Redhead(5), Courtecuisse(1)*, Smith(4), Miller(14) (discussing P. hadriani), Bacon(1)*, Buczacki(1)*

References for the fungi

General References