Observation 32439: Clathrus ruber P. Micheli ex Pers.

When: 2010-01-23

Collection location: Community garden, San Francisco, California, USA [Click for map]

Who: oaklandish

No specimen available

there were a few of these puffball looking fungi and two of them appeared to be maturing. found in a flower bed made from compost. this is a very interesting fungi, I would love any input on this. I can’t find in any books

[admin – Sat Aug 14 01:59:38 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘community garden, san francisco, ca’ to ‘Community garden, San Francisco, California, USA

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Carotenoids not water soluble
By: Robert Sasata (Sasata)
2010-07-05 12:05:01 NZST (+1200)

Saw the comment down below about the Clathrus pigments being water soluble; this is incorrect. The main pigments that give C. ruber its color are lycopene and beta-carotene, which are water-insoluble. This isn’t to say, however, that the colors don’t fade over time, but it’s not due to them leaching out.

but prob. not 15 species with this shape here in CA…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-01-25 08:57:48 NZDT (+1300)

the only other similar basket stinkhorn that I know of is Clathrus crispus, which looks very different and occurs on the east coast.
Image here: http://mushroomobserver.org/11743?search_seq=1224443

Color is in key to species.
By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2010-01-25 08:25:41 NZDT (+1300)

The Clathrus key by Dring has eight species that are pink or red and seven species that are yellow or white. Unfortunately, the key calls for several features that are not visible in these photos, including cutting the lattice of the ball and also looking at the attachment of it to the inside of the white egg.

Dring, D. M. and R. W. G. Dennis.  1980.  Clathraceae: Contributions toward a rational arrangement of the Clathraceae.  Reprint from Kew Bulletin Vol. 35 (1).  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surry, England.  96p.

dig ’em up while you still can!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-01-25 05:31:43 NZDT (+1300)

they are an invasive sp. that will make your outdoor activities less than pleasant, unless of course you enjoy the smell of rotting flesh.

here’s a link to the Clathrus ruber webpage on the BAMS website. The orange-red coloration is developed over time:


By: oaklandish
2010-01-24 15:55:17 NZDT (+1300)


By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2010-01-24 15:48:33 NZDT (+1300)

I was talking about these features with a friend earlier this week. We were checking out some fruiting bodies of what is normally an average looking C. ruber (more vividly coloured) patch. This time the fruiting bodies looked much like these- very pale. In fact, the most mature mushrooms were white, where they should have been red or orange. This is because the colours are water soluble, and with all this rain we have been getting, the colour and spore mass is getting washed away by the rain, and diluting the colours.
The thickness of the “egg shell” varies in C. ruber, usually thickest and most gelatinous when it is young, and shriveling up as it matures. Though environmental conditions also effect the thickness; in dry weather the “egg shell” will wither losing most or all of the gelatinous interior, and being more of a thin, leathery casing.
Individuals also vary, which is important to take into consideration, along with environmental factors.

I would still call this C. ruber (though it is a European name, I am not sure if it is the same taxon here).

Clathrus ruber
By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2010-01-24 15:37:20 NZDT (+1300)

It is Clathrus ruber. They look like this when they are not yet mature.

Clathrus ruber
By: oaklandish
2010-01-24 15:18:56 NZDT (+1300)

i’ve never seen a Clathrus ruber like this. the fruit body is not orange or reddish. the sporesac like objects inside of the fruit body are brown and the ones on Clathrus ruber are usually black. the eggshell is about 1/4 inch tick, not like the thin shell of ruber. this is likely a related species.

That’s a stinkhorn.
By: Eric Smith (esmith)
2010-01-24 14:43:32 NZDT (+1300)

I’m not sure which one though…maybe Clathrus ruber?

Created: 2010-01-24 14:28:41 NZDT (+1300)
Last modified: 2012-03-15 11:30:43 NZDT (+1300)
Viewed: 175 times, last viewed: 2018-02-08 09:24:37 NZDT (+1300)
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