Fruit bodies begin their development in the form of a structure shaped like an egg. Measuring about 1 cm (0.4 in) in diameter, the roughly spherical egg is white or mottled with brown on the upper part. Attached underneath are one or more thin white rhizomorphs. After emerging from the egg, the fruit body consists of a short, thick stalk from which between four to six vertical, arching columns arise. These columns, colored pink below and gradually deepening in color to red near the top, have a corrugated surface texture. The columns often fork near the top into additional branches that support a lattice-like, or clathrate dome. The meshes of the fertile net are roughly polyhedral and there is an abrupt transition from columns to lattice. The olive-green gleba is held on the bottom of and in between the meshes of the clathrate dome, and the inner side of the upper arms. It has a fetid odor, similar to feces, which attracts flies that visit the mushroom, consume the gleba, and deposit the spores elsewhere to germinate. Spores produced by C. hirudinosus are rod-shaped, hyaline (translucent), and measure 3.5–6.5 by 1–1.75 µm. Structurally, the spongy columns comprise a double layer of tubes, a large inner one and two or three outer ones. The remnants of the egg tissue enclose the base of the structure as a volva.