T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Clathrus archeri (Octopus Stinkhorn)

Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Phallales
Family: Phallaceae
Genus: Clathrus
Species: C. archeri
Binomial name: Clathrus archeri
Synonyms: Lysurus archeri, Anthurus archeri, Pseudocolus archeri,
Common names. Octopus Stinkhorn, Devil's fingers, Giant Stink horn,

Clathrus archeri is a fairly frequent phalloid fungi indigenous to New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania. It grows on soil, open farm land, wood-chip mulch, around old stumps and in leaf litter usually during Autumn. It obtains a height of 100mm and a width of 200mm.
It erupts from a sub-erumpent egg by forming into four to eight elongated slender reddish arms initially erect and attached at the top. The arms then unfold to reveal a pinkish-red interior covered with a dark-olive spore containing gleba (fertile tissue) which smells strongly like human excrement or putrid flesh. This sticky foul-smelling spore-bearing tissue attracts flies which are the agents of its spore dispersal. Like other phalloids, C. archeri accumulates manganese in the egg-stage which is important chemically in producing the sugars and odorous substances found in the gleba.



A damaged fungi photographed at Methven, Canterbury growing in grassland.