Forget the Stinky Flower, Smell the Putrid Fungus

The corpse plant over at the Botanic Gardens is getting viral love because it's supposed to be so stinky. But it turns out to smell quite mild, as articulated in a tweet from Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell: "Early visitors to Denver #CorpseFlower disappointed by lack of stench."

If you want stench, you should check your yard for the stinkhorn mushroom, Phallus impudicus. While the corpse flower allegedly smells like rotten meat, this mushroom smells like something in between skunk, semen and moldy cheese.

It's guaranteed to small awful, and it's common in Denver lawns, so you won't have to wait in line like all those wanna-be sniffers at the Botanic Gardens.

As we write on our UrbanMushrooms.com website of the stinkhorn:

With their long white shafts and slimy greenish head, these penis-shaped mushrooms emerge from what looks like a smooth pinkish golf-ball.

It's one of the few mushrooms that you often smell before you see. Noted mycologist Charles McIlvaine called the odor "aggravatingly offensive, attracting blow flies in quantities."

Seriously, if you can find this in your yard, or a nearby park, why bother with the crowds at the Botanic Gardens? And this, you can actually eat! That is, if you're the kind of person who likes to eat grasshoppers.

If you can't find it, head over to the Denver Botanic Gardens Sunday, Sept. 6, for the Colorado Mycological Society's Mushroom Fair. It runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As you walk into Mitchell Hall, where the fair takes place at the Gardens, you'll find a nice display of "City Mushrooms," including, of course, the stinkhorn! Smell it until your craving for the foulest of odors subsides.

Also, bring along any mushrooms you find in your yard or the mountains. Expert mycologists will be on hand to identify them. And you can check out the huge display of wild mushrooms, as well as other mushroom exhibits for kids and adults.

Sure, the corpse flower has turned into a celebrity, but the poor Phallus mushroom is more deserving of attention as a reliable stinker.  Trust me on this.