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Stinkhorn: The World’s Smelliest Mushroom


The Amazon Rainforest is home to a lot of plant and animal species. The 55 million year old rainforest hosts one of the world’s smelliest mushrooms known scientifically as CLATHRUS RUBER. Other people also refer to it commonly as the LATTICED STINKHORN, BASKET STINKHORN or RED CAGE and it is often presumed to be something mysterious and extraordinary when seen for the very first time.

The Amazon basin is bordered by about 9 nations in the Southern America namely Peru, Columbia, Suriname, Bolivia, French Guiana, Ecuador, Guyana, Venezuala, and Brazil which has almost 60% of the entire forest. It is covered with 2,100,000 sq mi (5,500,000 km2) of forest out of the total size of 2,700,000 sq mi (7,000,000 km2)

The Amazon is mostly called Amazoneregenwoud in Dutch,
Selva Amazónica Amazonía or Amazonia in Spanish, Floresta Amazônica or Amazônia in Portuguese, and Forêt amazonienne in French

It is estimated that over half of the worlds rain forest is what makes up the Amazon. It is the most biodiverse and largest tract of tropical rainforest on the globe with 16,000 species of the 390 billion trees.

The Latticed Stinkhorn emanates from a white ‘egg’ which is believed to be comestible and fit for human consumption. But just like the normal chicken egg we love to gobble up and snack on, the Basket Stinkhorn egg spawns grave gastric upset when eaten too much. The egg’s outer membrane encompasses a thick skin of spore-bearing slime called the GLEBA which is high in calcium and also acts as a safeguard when the mushroom is beginning to flourish.

Aside the stinkhorn mushroom being consumable at the egg phase and also being deemed as a ‘bonne bouche’in parts of Europe and Asia,a report by DR.F Peyre Porcher of Charleston, South Carolina, recounted how a boy endured lower stomach pain and vicious paroxysm coupled with speech loss for 48-hours straight. According to DR.Porcher’s report,the young boy later drank an emetic which led to him vomiting a piece of the mushroom together with two worms and mucus stained with blood.

Carotene, which is the main chemical that provides carrots with its deep orange-red color, fortifies the strong smell of this mushroom which is also likened to the pungent scent of rotten meat, and which will obviously seduce a lot flies and other insects to aid in disseminating its seeds. The Basket Stinkhorn also helps in the breaking down of wood and plant organic matter and it is mostly found isolated or in groups.

It has not been ascertained whether the Latticed Mushroom itself is consumable or not, even though a few reports have been made about people who suffered some forms of ailments after consuming the fungus, but its pungent smell is enough to hinder most people from getting close not to talk of ingesting it.

Contributor: Maame Efua Aikins