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Aseröe rubra

Starfish fungus

ParentsUnknownGenus is not in the current taxonomy
GenusAseröeFrom the Ancient Greek words Asē/αση, “disgust,” and roē/ροη, “juice”
SpeciesrubraFrom the Latin ruber or rubra, “red”

About plant names...

This fungus, fairly common in Australia and New Zealand, was the first Australian fungus to be formally described. It has been sighted in South Africa and is found on some Pacific islands. It exists in North America as well, and is the most common stinkhorn in Hawaii.

Identification: I don't think there is anything that looks remotely like this fungus. But if you are uncertain about it, take a whiff. If it smells like rotting meat, you have a match. It uses this odor to attract flies, which distribute its spores. More photos are available from MushroomExpert.com.

Aseröe rubra (starfish fungus)

This photo by petrichor won Botany Photo of the Day. It was taken in southeastern Australia.

Aseröe rubra (starfish fungus)

This photo by Cas Liber, from New South Wales, Australia, shows that there is significant variation in shape.

Online References:

The Hidden Forest

Michael Kuo's MushroomExpert.com




The University of British Columbia Botanical Garden Center for Plant Research


Aseröe rubra description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Aseröe rubra (starfish fungus)

11/16/2001 · Kauai Island, Hawaii · By Stanley W. Kent