A putrid aroma is usually noticed before this mushroom is seen.
Most commonly ranging through the southeastern Gulf coastal states, Columned stinkhorn has been found as far north as Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York. They grow in sandy soil as well as in the leaf litter and rotting debris of woods, and like many of the stinkhorns, often appear in areas mulched with wood chips.
Clathrus columnatus has two to five reddish sponge-like columns growing from a white egg in the ground, the remnants of which can often be seen still attached around the base of the columns. These columns are fused at the top, forming a roof over the dark glebra, or spore mass. The fetid odor attracts insects, such as flies, that help distribute the reproductive spores.
Othrer common names for this fungus are Devil's Finger and Buzzard's Nose Fungus.
For more information, visit the Mushroom Expert page for this species
For a taxonomic tree and links to other fungi posted on Wild Florida Photo see the Fungi at Wild Florida Photo page.