I love getting up early to take Teli out for her morning walk.
When there is no one in the streets we can walk and enjoy the quiet of the Colonial Zone. Usually Buenagente joins in and sometimes we pick some other dogs along the way that want to come along on our morning adventure.
Today on my morning walk with Teli and her friends I ran into a weird wild thing. It looked to be some type of alien plant growing in the mulch in Plazoleta Padre Billini today. It was a bright orangish-red with holes. It had a dark green to brownish ooze surrounding each of its many openings and insides that the flies seemed to enjoy.
I went closer wondering if maybe I would get sprayed with some alien mist and transported to some mother ship to be poked and prodded. (Yes, I have always had a vivid imagination)
I proceeded to touch the ball with trepidation not knowing what to expect from my curiosity. This red ball was soft and pliable as far as I could tell, I did not squeeze it very hard because I was not sure what to expect. Then I noticed a not nice stench coming from the spongy ball. No wonder the flies were so happy dancing around the brown sap-like substance in those holes. It smelled like rotting meat!
I called a man over that was sitting on a nearby bench. I had to share my sighting with someone. The brave attack dogs, Teli and Buenagente, did not want to get anywhere near to the poop-stink thing.
The man came over and I showed him. He looked at it, said wow and that was it. He did not seem to be very impressed with my discovery. He did say he never saw anything like it before. Me, on the other hand, when I see something different, interesting, weird or just pleasing to my eyes, I get excited. I say lots of oohhs, awwhhs, wows and just plain oogle whatever is interesting to me at the moment. This was very interesting and I was doing big wowwees privately inside my head.
I took my pictures and headed home to the trusty computer to see what the heck this interesting item was.
This is what I found.
The fancy name for this is a Clathrus Crispus (Clathrus Ruber) in my plain and simple English, a WiffleBall or Lattice Stinkhorn. Like other stinkhorns it grows from a white – cream colored egg type ball that connects to the ground with long cords. They grow in mulch, wood chips and organic debris. As the mushroom grows the egg membrane tears and the stinky red alien fungus exposes its bizarre looking self and continues to grow. This is when the odor happens. Flies and other insects are attracted to the stench of the green slime that grown inside the ball. They transport the spores of the fungi to its new home to start growing again. The life span of the mushroom after it has hatched is only a day or 2 and it is very delicate. It is a very delicate plant, that glows in the dark slightly, with a not so delicate stench. (references www.mushroomexpert.com, www.backyardnature.net)
Looking closer I did notice an Alien in the mulch. There are Aliens among us..lol!