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Health Services > Queensland Poisons Information Centre

Plants and mushrooms

Stinkhorn fungi

Red stinkhorn fungi Red star-fish fungi
Category 2 toxicity icon

 Common name   Stinkhorn fungi
 Botanical name   Aseroe rubra, Phallus rubicundus and others
 Other common names   -
Family   -
 General description   These fungi produce spore slime, which has an intense smell of rotting meat or sewage. They are very common on wood or bark-chip mulch in gardens, and on deep litter on the rainforest floor. There are a number of differently shaped species, but all are readily recognisable by the smell of the spore slime.
Flowers   -
Leaves   -
 Fruit/Berries   -
Other   -
Symptoms   Cases of human consumption are not known, but the smell is attractive to dogs, and possibly cats. Deaths of small dogs have occurred. The toxins are unknown, but are thought to develop during the enzymatic liquefaction of the spore slime. They are generally gastro-irritants.
Toxicity category   2
Warning   Seek urgent medical attention for any ingestion.

Last Updated: 24 August 2010
Last Reviewed: 31 October 2008