What is this phallus mushroom spotted in St Albans garden?

Stuart with the mushroom. Picture: Stuart Braggs

Stuart with the mushroom. Picture: Stuart Braggs - Credit: Archant

A potentially very rare fungus did not need mush-room to start sprouting in a St Albans garden.

Is this a Phallus Impudicus Var. Togatus? Picture: Stuart Braggs

Is this a Phallus Impudicus Var. Togatus? Picture: Stuart Braggs - Credit: Archant

Wheathampstead local Stuart Braggs, 51, noticed the odd looking fungus poking out from between his pots this week.

Images of a Phallus Impudicus Var. Togatus, which seem very similar to the growth in Stuart’s garden, came up in his Google research of the plant.

Stuart said: “It’s certainly bizarre and I was quite surprised and amused.

“It’s quite odd looking and I just thought I would Google it and check it out, and saw an article on them.

“I think it’s probably grown because it’s very wet at the moment - the lovely English weather - and mushrooms are just popping up.”

If it is this variety of mushroom only a handful have ever been recorded in the UK, according to biodiversity database NBN Atlas.

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The Phallus Impudicus Var. Togatus is so named because of its distinctive shape and cap, which releases an unpleasant rotting smell to ward off predators.

Stuart added: “I haven’t dared stick my head near it but it stinks. I think it’s pretty rare.”

Its cousin, the common stinkhorn, is not unusual to find in Britain.

He has contacted the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and is waiting to hear back.

Do you recognise the mushroom? Let us know at hertsad@archant.co.uk

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