Dictyophora indusiata (Phallus indusiatus)- an edible stinkhorn

There are quite a few mushrooms that are classified as stinkhorns.  Many of these are said to be edible in the  egg stage.  Dictyophora indusiata is however edible as the mature mushroom and it is cultivated in significant quantities in China.  It is an attractive looking mushroom as shown below.


Dictyophora indusiata, Cairns, Queensland, by Steve Fitzgerald

The name refers to the net-like skirt or indusium which is a transient feature, soon falling away to reveal the stem.  The mushroom is also known as Phallus indusiatus, for obvious reasons but for the purposes of this post I have retained the earlier name.  This is a mushroom of tropical areas.  I have not encountered it in the wild personally, though I have seen the very similar Dictyophora multicolor in Cairns.  I have however encountered it in canned form in an Asian food shop in Perth.


When opened up, the contents of the can were almost pure white, odourless and contained the entire mushroom, including the cap, cut into pieces, in brine.


Like other stinkhorns, when encountered in the wild,  it has a disgusting smell.  Rather remarkably, this repulsive smell has been claimed to cause spontaneous female orgasms in the case of a Hawaian species!  Whether that is the case or not (and I have my doubts) the canned product does not have any hint of this smell.  From what I have been able to determine, the fungus is washed to remove the spore material that contains the odour components.

I cooked up some of the pieces, which contained quite a lot of water, in a frying pan with a little olive oil and then added them to an omlette.   I found that the taste was best in the pieces that had been slightly browned.  This may be due to the considerable amount of glucose contained in the structure of the cell walls.

I should note that one Chinese site (that is a translation) indicates that species that have a yellow veil (indusium) are toxic.  That would include Dictyophora multicolor.

I report this mushroom because it does occur in Australia and it is edible.  However, it might be an adventurous person who attempts to eat it.   I would be interested if anyone finds this or any of the other stinkhorns, and can let me know if the smell can be removed by washing.  Meanwhile, it is readily available in canned form.  And if you want a genuine Chinese recipe, you might like to try this one from the site above:

“Casserole in disposable full of water and put it into the old hen, add ginger fluff block a, a teaspoon of cooking wine first and bring to a boil over high heat, low heat slowly stew. 炖鸡时,为了防止汤水溢出,可以在砂锅上架两根竹筷,再盖上锅盖。 Stewed chicken, in order to prevent the soup overflow in the casserole shelves two bamboo chopsticks, then cover the pot. 大约三小时后,鸡汤已经呈现金黄色。 After about three hours, the chicken soup has a golden yellow. 这时可以将已经用水发过的竹荪切段,投入鸡汤中,再炖,等竹荪充分浸润了鸡汤的味道后,根据个人口味加盐,关火,撒一点点葱花增香,就可上桌了。 Then you can the segment of the water has hair Dictyophora cut, put into chicken soup, then boiled, etc. Dictyophora fully infiltrating the taste of chicken soup, according to personal taste with salt, and turn off the heat, sprinkle a little chopped green onion flavoring, can be serve.

【要点】给鸡焯水时不要弄破鸡皮;水发竹荪要多浸泡一会儿,才会去除那股怪味儿,竹荪不要放多,否则会夺鸡汤的鲜味;如果老母鸡肚子里油很多,要挖出来扔掉一点,尤其是在夏天对于喜欢清淡的人来讲。 [Points to the chicken boiled water not to break the chicken skin; The the water hair Dictyophora to soak for a while, before removal of the sense of smell children Dictyophora Do not put too much, otherwise it will seize the flavor of the chicken soup; old hen stomach where oil is a lot to be dug up and threw it away a bit, especially in the summer for people like light.].
(I think that was written by the person who did the instructions for my portable router table   🙂

11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Glenda said,

    Hi Morrie
    I will leave that one for you to try!
    Great translation. I would like to see a photo of your chicken soup:)

    • 2

      morrie2 said,

      Hi Glenda,

      Thanks for your response. It was a fun one to write up. I don’t know that I am too keen to try the soup recipe at this stage!


  2. 3

    Fi said,

    Hilarious post! Never expected the can to make an appearance and that is one of the best/worst examples of chinglish I’ve read. I’m still chuckling.

    • 4

      morrie2 said,

      Hello Fi,

      Thanks for your response. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I thought the can was quite unusual in itself and the mushroom certainly is. There are lots of tales about this one.

      I expect that you will be seeing a few mushrooms around your way with all the wet weather that you have been having.



  3. 5

    forthferalz said,

    OMG Morrie what a find!

  4. 6

    Phil munro said,

    Live on magnetic island and can’t stop these popping up in my garden. Very strong odour. That’s how I know one has surfaced. Can you advise how to get rid of them

    • 7

      morrie2 said,

      Well you could pick them and eat them Phil! But if you want to get rid of them then I suspect that a very dilute solution of copper sulphate would probably discourage them. I’d be very interested to know if you can wash off the smelly stuff.

  5. 8

    Debbie Viess said,

    Stinkhorns smell disgusting, to both women and men, when they are in process of attracting their spore vectors.

    The Chinese Phallus indusiatus that you ate has had the stinking gleba (the gooey spore mass) washed away. No spore mass = no stink!

    The lovely look to that indusium (the white net) and that crunchy texture of the mushroom is actually part of its appeal. That and the fact that it used to a be a very rare mushroom, prior to its cultivation, and so was coveted.

    The odor of a stinkhorn is designed to attract carrion flies, which eat the gleba and then spread the spores.

    The “paper” by Holliday is pure garbage. He just sent me a copy and I read the entire thing. No clear protocols, no controls, zero references, and the whole thing funded by Big Pharma in hopes of producing a marketable aphrodisiac! This important fact was not disclosed in the paper (an ethics breach right there) but told to me by Holliday himself.

    When it sounds like bullshit, reads like bullshit and even smells like bullshit (dead meat and poop are the prominent odors), well, whatdya think it is?

    • 9

      morrie2 said,


      Thanks for your comments Debbie. I did have my doubts about the Holliday claims but if I recall correctly the paper was not available or behind a paywall, so I couldn’t actually read it. It is nice to have some further insight into it.



  6. 10

    Tara said,

    I just came across two of these in the wild in Hong Kong. I posted it on an FB page as I had never seen anything like it before (after living in HK for 23 years!) and I was lead to your page here… I have a great picture of them but no idea how to post here. Seems it is not common to find them in the wild. And suddenly there they were – right next to the path we were walking along. Amazing things.

  7. 11

    Dan said,

    Hi Morrie, Keep up the good work. I find the stink horns at the start of the wet season living in the Whitsundays. Next time I get one I will wash it up and give it a stink test.

    cheers Dan.

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