Unusual nature: what is this strange mushroom with an evocative shape?

Unusual nature: what is this strange mushroom with an evocative shape?

Phallus impudicus, or stinking satyr, is a mushroom that grows vigorously in forests in autumn. ©Fanch LE PIVERT

Autumnrun through the woods and search mushrooms is a guarantee of discovering strange specimens.

If there is a species that does not go unnoticed, it is phallus impudicus, stinking satyr for close friends. Needless to say, the one also called the Acorn-of-Satan takes its name from the phallic form it presents in its mature state.

This funny mushroom is currently out, a chance to get to know each other better, with ease. The season of joy is open…

Between 10 and 20 centimeters

The phallus impudicus is common, fascinating, shameless; stands energetically in deciduous and under conifers.

Its thick, spongy foot measures 10 to 20 cm when mature, surmounted by a cone-shaped hat with a hole at the top.

A stinky satyr would not go unnoticed, especially by him erection it only matches the pestilential smell it emits several meters around. An exhalation that gives the impression of a mixture of escaping gas and sulphur.

Our mushroom readily grows around old tree stumps, but beware, old tree stumps are not where we cook the best soup. Phallus impudicus is not eaten as an adult.

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A sexual stimulant?

On the other hand, in its juvenile state, when it appears as a white egg partially buried in the ground, its heart is eaten raw by some. It has a nice radish flavor, but you still have to start and ignore the nauseating aroma it will give off as it grows.

Phallus impudicus is therefore not a chewing mushroom. On the other hand, it is considered an aphrodisiac in some societies.

In his book titled Mushrooms (published in 2013), biologist Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu evokes the reputation of a stinking satyr. “Their form has earned them some fame in the form of powder, decoction, or dried amulets. They are still sold as sexual stimulants in China,” he writes.

To increase the strength of the bulls

On the other side of the globe, in Hawaii, a close cousin, the phallus impudicus, is named the lady’s mushroom. It is said that they actually meet to look for him in the woods.

Closer to home, in Montenegro, it was rubbed into the necks of fighting bulls to increase their strength.

Aphrodisiac, but also medicinal virtues. Thus, in Holland, Gland-de-Satan was formerly used for poultices against rheumatism.

So many stories that are surely more myths than facts. Finally, the phallus impudicus is associated with the thoughts that its sight evokes.

In the forests, the fungus does not remain vital for very long. After a few days, the natural erection eventually wears off. Good performance but…

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