Bridal veil stinkhorns are fungi that grow in rainforest leaf litter. They get their name from the veil formation that hangs down from the cap. Despite their pretty appearance, they usually smell appalling, as their aim is to attract carrion eating flies which then distribute the spores. Uncommon in the wild, the stinkhorn is now cultivated for use in Chinese cuisine and medicine.
Scientific name: Phallus indusiatus
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The following habitats are found across the Bridal veil stinkhorn distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Phallus indusiatus, commonly called the bamboo fungus, bamboo pith, long net stinkhorn, crinoline stinkhorn or veiled lady, is a fungus in the family Phallaceae, or stinkhorns. It has a cosmopolitan distribution in tropical areas, and is found in southern Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Australia, where it grows in woodlands and gardens in rich soil and well-rotted woody material. The fruit body of the fungus is characterised by a conical to bell-shaped cap on a stalk and a delicate lacy "skirt", or indusium, that hangs from beneath the cap and reaches nearly to the ground. First described scientifically in 1798 by French botanist Étienne Pierre Ventenat, the species has often been referred to a separate genus Dictyophora along with other Phallus species featuring an indusium. P. indusiatus can be distinguished from other similar species by differences in distribution, size, color, and indusium length.
Mature fruit bodies are up to 25 cm (10 in) tall with a conical to bell-shaped cap that is 1.5–4 cm (0.6–1.6 in) wide. The cap is covered with a greenish-brown spore-containing slime, which attracts flies and other insects that eat the spores and disperse them. An edible mushroom featured as an ingredient in Chinese haute cuisine, it is used in stir-frys and chicken soups. The mushroom, grown commercially and commonly sold in Asian markets, is rich in protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. The mushroom also contains various bioactive compounds, and has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Phallus indusiatus has a recorded history of use in Chinese medicine extending back to the 7th century AD, and features in Nigerian folklore.
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