Phallus impudicus

A restless night. A tawny owl ke-wicking somewhere in the garden in the small hours. A stifled-sneeze-induced splitting headache mid-morning. Time for a walk down Burlees Lane to clear my head.

It's at this point that my natural history journal loses its U-certificate rating. Look what I found in the woods:

Stinkhorn.

The aptly named stinkhorn (with the equally apt Linnean classification Phallus impudicus): a fungus which, when it spores, emits a smell similar to rotting flesh. The smell attracts flies (as shown), which then fly away, bearing fungal spores to new locations.

My hero, Charles Darwin, was fascinated by plant dispersal mechanisms. I'm sure the stinkhorn fungus's spore-dispersal trick would have delighted him.

(And yes, it stinks to high-heaven!)

Some more photos from my walk:

Spider.
Spider.
Blackberries.
Burlees Lane.
Gate.
Stinkhorn.

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