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Phallus indusiatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Subdivision: Agaricomycotina
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Phallales
Family: Phallaceae
Genus: Phallus
Species: P. indusiatus
Binomial name
Phallus indusiatus
Vent. 1798
Synonyms

Dictyophora indusiata (Vent.) Desv.
Hymenophallus indusiatus

Phallus indusiatus
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
smooth hymenium
no distinct cap
hymenium attachment is irregular or not applicable
stipe has a volva
spore print is olive
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: edible

Phallus indusiatus, commonly called in English long net stinkhorn, crinoline stinkhorn, or veiled lady, is a stinkhorn fungus which grows in bamboo thickets in China. This gives rise to its alternate common name of bamboo fungus or bamboo pith, and its Chinese name zhu sheng (竹笙, pinyin: zhúshēng) or zhu sun (竹荪; pinyin: zhúsūn). It is used as an ingredient in Chinese haute cuisine, particularly that of Yunnan and Canton.

Contents

Taxonomy

Phallus indusiatus was initially described by French naturalist Étienne Pierre Ventenat in 1798, before being placed in a new genus Dictyophora in 1809 by Desvaux, and was known for many years as Dictyophora indusiata before being reclassified under its original name. Its specific epithet is the Latin adjective indūsǐātus "wearing an undergarment".[1] The former generic name is derived from the Ancient Greek words diktu- "net", and pherein "to bear", hence "bearing a net".[2]

Phallus indusiatus has many common names based on its appearance, including long net stinkhorn, crinoline stinkhorn, basket stinkhorn, bridal veil fungus or veiled lady.

Description

The mature stinkhorn is up to 30 cm (12 in) tall, girded with a net-like structure, the indusium or 'skirt', which hangs down around 15 cm (6 in) from the conical cap. The skirt's netlike openings may be polyhedral or round in shape. The cap is 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) high and covered with a greenish-brown slime termed the gleba. The stalk is 7–25 cm (3–10 in) high and 0.2–0.5 cm in diameter.[3] Their method of reproduction is different from many mushrooms, which use the air to spread their spores. Stinkhorns instead produce a sticky spore mass on their tip which has a sharp, sickly-sweet odor of carrion to attract bees, and flies.[4] The mature fruiting bodies can be smelled from a considerable distance in the woods, and at close quarters most people find the cloying stink extremely repulsive. The flies land in the gleba and consume the slime, depositing it as excrement elsewhere.[5] In older fungi the slime is eventually removed, the pale off-white bare pitted and ridge surface is exposed.[3]

Distribution and habitat

The range is tropical, including Mexico, South America, Malaysia and southern China and Japan.[5] It is saprobic and arises from disturbed ground and woodchips. In China, it grows among bamboo forests.

Uses

Previously only collected in the wild, where it is uncommon, it was rare and difficult to procure. However, it has been cultivated in China since 1979.[6] It was previously reserved for special occasions, one such being a banquet for Henry Kissinger on his visit to China to reestablish diplomatic relations in the early 1970s.[6]

Since then, advances in cultivation have made it cheaper and more available. The Hong Kong price for a kilogram of dried mushrooms reached around US $770 in 1982, but had dropped to US $100–200 by 1988. Further advances led to it dropping further to US $10–20.[6]

According to an article in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, the smell of this fungus when fresh can trigger spontaneous orgasms in human females.[1] In the study, all of men found the smell disgusting. This journal article focused on the species found in Hawaii, not the variety cultivated in China.

References

  1. ^ Simpson DP (1979). Cassell's Latin Dictionary (5 ed.). London: Cassell Ltd.. p. 883. ISBN 0-304-52257-0.  
  2. ^ Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.  
  3. ^ a b Chang & Miles, p. 344
  4. ^ Chang & Miles, p. 346
  5. ^ a b Tuno, Nobuko (January 2002). (abstract) "Spore dispersal of Dictyophora fungi (Phallaceae) by flies". Ecological Research 13 (1): 7–15. doi:10.1046/j.1440-1703.1998.00241.x. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120143131/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0 (abstract). Retrieved 2008-08-11.  
  6. ^ a b c Chang & Miles, p. 343

Cited text

  • Chang, Shu-Ting; Miles, Philip G. (2004). "Dictyophora, formerly for the few". Mushrooms:Cultivation, Nutritional Value, Medicinal Effect, and Environmental Impact (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-1043-1.  

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