Stinky Orange Lifeform (No. Not that one)
December 17, 2016 4:23 PM   Subscribe

This strange entity showed up in Southeastern NC this week. There's a bonus secret hidden entity within the strange orange topper. Is there a knowledgeable mefite willing to identify it's name and any additional information?

There are several pics in the album that show the orange topper and wee orange heart within.
posted by mightshould to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am not the knowledgeable mefite you're looking for, but I would start my search with slime mold.
posted by Bruce H. at 4:36 PM on December 17, 2016

Forgot to mention that it was about 3 inches high and it attracted flies.
posted by mightshould at 4:37 PM on December 17, 2016

Possibly the columnar stinkhorn, Clathrus columnatus.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:47 PM on December 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

Mycologist* checking in, you've definitely got yourself a stinkhorn there, how cool! I'd agree, it is quite likely Clathrus

*=sorta mycologist. graduate degree in mycology, however am now much more of a generalist. But I remember stinkhorns!
posted by TheFantasticNumberFour at 5:42 PM on December 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Y'all are right. Per Wikipedia (BTW: donation time)

cathrus columnatus, commonly known as the column stinkhorn, is a saprobic species of basidiomycete fungus in the family Phallaceae. It has a widespread distribution, and has been found in Africa, Australasia, and the Americas. It may have been introduced to North America with exotic plants. Similar to other stinkhorn fungi, the fruiting body, known as the receptaculum, starts out as a subterranean "egg" form. As the fungus develops, the receptaculum expands and erupts out of the protective volva, ultimately developing into mature structures characterized by two to five long vertical orange or red spongy columns, joined together at the apex. The fully grown receptaculum reaches heights of 8 cm (3.1 in) tall. The inside surfaces of the columns are covered with a fetid olive-brown spore-containing slime, which attracts flies and other insects that help disseminate the spores. Although once considered undesirable, the fungus is listed as edible. It is found commonly in mulch.

How satisfyingly bizzare. And, the comparison jokes just write themselves!
posted by mightshould at 3:48 AM on December 18, 2016

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