Phallic Fungus: Getting Stinkhorn Out of Your Stinkin’ Garden


We moved to a new house where the yard is heavily mulched with wood chips. It looks really nice, but I don’t have much experience with mulch simply because mulch costs money and I’m lazy.

After a few heavy rains I noticed these nasty things growing in our yard.

stinkhorn fungus

Ick! That greenish-brown wet-looking area toward the top is indeed wet, and reeks of decaying flesh, therefore attracting flies. Some of these were up to around seven inches long.

After some research (asking my friends on Facebook what this stinky, slimy crap growing in my yard and attracting flies is) I learned that it’s a fungus called Stinkhorn.

So I googled “Stinkhorn.”

I learned that it produces its slimy, stinky substance to attract flies because that’s how the spores are spread. See, God does have a sense of humor, but…barf.

While deep in research, I noticed that the latin word for the family of Stinkhorn mushrooms is “Phallaceae,” as in “phallic.” Yep.

Later, my friend, Julie, added this photo to my “WTH is this crap growing in my yard” Facebook thread.

julie fungus


This mushroom is also found in the Phallaceae family of fungi. The latin name truly fits.

And, I guess not so ironically, this is the stinkhorn egg when it’s cut open.

I’m not making this stuff up.

So obviously I didn’t want these things growing in my yard and I definitely didn’t want them to spread, as they were doing so quite quickly. So based on my friend Kenya’s advice and what I googled on how to get rid of them, I did the following:

Got a plastic trash bag and gloves. They suggested disposable gloves, but I didn’t have any, so I wore ski gloves. Just kidding, I wore gardening gloves.

I dug those suckers out, “roots” and all. The “roots” look like small white eggs and there were a lot of them. I kind of felt like a gold miner digging for nuggets of gold, except I hated the freaking gold I found.

stinkhorn roots

I put everything I dug up into a plastic bag.

I tied it up and threw it in the trash, not in the compost bin or with other yard scrap waste, in the trash.

Some people recommend boiling water and bleach to get rid of the remaining spores, but I didn’t do that because…boiling water and bleach.

Then I left my gloves and trowel in the sun to roast all that lingering nasty sporey fungus off.

I’ve looked back in my garden every day to see if any stinkhorns grew that I had missed. I found a few and dug those up and threw them away. Actually, I just threw them in the middle of my driveway to die and roast because I was too lazy to get a trash bag.

That was last week.

We had another heavy rain two nights ago and wouldn’t you know it, those freaking things came back with a vengeance. I dug their little fly-infested, stinking souls out of the ground again. This time, I relented and got the boiling water out along with a trash bag. But, being my lazy self, I just hit one small area with the water and decided to see how the rest goes with just being removed and tossed in the trash – at least I didn’t leave them in the middle of the driveway this time.

I went out five minutes ago to check again. I only saw two small Stinkhorns which I quickly removed. And that was all great, but then I found THIS! What the heck are these?!?

small mushrooms

The battle continues.

Next battle: RABBITS!

Have you had Stinkhorns in your yard? How’d YOU get them out? 



20 thoughts on “Phallic Fungus: Getting Stinkhorn Out of Your Stinkin’ Garden

  1. holly

    So I am actually a little relieved to find out it’s just fungus. All I could think was what is this giant insect that leaves this weird orange thing behind and giant eggs. I wasn’t looking forward to the day they hatched since I was to scared to touch them. Feeling much better now!

  2. Pingback: Peter Rabbit Can Suck It! | I Try to Grow Stuff…

  3. Kenya G. Johnson

    You did good to take on these by yourself. The advice I gave you was based on my research but then I passed it on to my husband. I wanted no parts with the digging or getting close to them for that matter. I think it too him a few times and I am sure he was annoyed every time I said I saw another one. I haven’t seen them this year but we haven’t had much rain. I hope they are truly gone because I couldn’t hang out my comforters for fear that the smell was going to leech on. Not only are they just gross, they are embarrassing when you have company and they ask, “What’s that?” By company I mean my dad.

  4. Pattie

    There is only one thing to do in a case like this. Move.
    Or else you can dig up the entire bed where the nasty things thrive and dispose of the dirt in the neighbors yard. Then replace with clean fresh dirt from a bag that costs $3.99 per square foot. Because gardening costs way more than you will ever save by growing your own. #RambledLikeABoss

  5. Julie DeNeen

    I am so grossed out. They are so icky. I had them in my yard and almost resorted to a deliverance because I thought the devil was infecting my yard with penises.

  6. davromega

    My dear, you need to get yourself some birth control pills and grind them up and spread them out. It is the only way to deal with overwhelming phallic issues! Either that or somehow get the things to think of Roseanne Barr 24/7 and they will never reproduce again!

  7. Katie | The Surly Housewife

    The phallic ‘shrooms and vagina eggs just made my day. This is why I don’t eat mushrooms. I hope you get rid of these nasty things. We haven’t had a fungi problem. Just weeds. Which, I too am too lazy, to get out and take care of!

    1. Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine? Post author

      What’s crazy, is that I was reading a blog post about how these mushrooms are dried out, once the slimy part is removed, and eaten in other countries. The author of the blog said he tried one and it was bland. Picture me dry-heaving like a cat right now.

  8. Kristi Campbell - findingninee

    GROSS and NASTY. Only you could write about this stuff and make it hilarious. Good luck. I’d have done the bleach and probably have killed all the flowers. Also the driveway sounded totally reasonable to me. Also for the rabbits? Easy. Just get a pet fox.

  9. JennSomethingClever

    Oh god no. I had those a few years ago, when I lived in a townhouse. I called the office hollering about them every day until someone got rid of them. The thought of them, years later, still makes me want to puke ALL THE PUKE IN THE WORLD. That smell!!

    1. Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine? Post author

      Yeah, they’re totally gross. They grow on the northeast side of my house. That side only sees the morning sun, so those suckers love it over there. They shrivel up after once it dries out, but we’ve had so much rain since we moved in that they have become an army to be reckoned with.

      1. Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine? Post author

        I actually think it would probably get worse if I covered it. I imagine there would be some condensation and the humidity would stay under the tarp, possibly improving the growing conditions for the shrooms. Plus it’s all along the side of my house – a LONG area.

  10. Pingback: Cleaning Up a Garden Full of Weeds | I Try to Grow Stuff…

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