Stinkhorn mushrooms now popping up.

Offices of the Missouri Department of Conservation have been receiving this fall phone calls from residents who are convinced they have found morel mushrooms, which appear each spring across the state. What many have found, according to Becky Matney of the MDC, are stinkhorn mushrooms, which she stresses is deserving of its name.

“Stinkhorns stink to high heaven. You can actually smell them from several feet away if you’re walking a trail or hiking,” she said.

Earlier this week an estimated 50 to 60 of the fungi were discovered in a yard on Broadway in Hannibal.

“My wife spotted them in our daughter’s yard. She was claiming they were morels and they actually look like one,” said Bob Burditt.

As for the smell, Burditt likened it to a morel, only a “little stronger.”

Burditt took the mushroom his wife found to the local MDC office because “I’m curious about things like this.”

“I’m a farm boy and I’d never seen anything like this before,” he said. “I was a surveyor and I never saw them, although I saw everything else. This just must be an unusual year with the amount of moisture we’ve gotten. The conditions must be right for them to pop.”

The stinkhorns first appear as “little pink eggs.” A day later they are slimy and sticky.

“Flies will land on the top of it where it’s real sticky. That’s how they (mushrooms) spread their spores,” said Matney.

After the sticky stage the mushroom’s head and stem begin to stiffen.

“Then you pluck it like you would a morel mushroom,” said Burditt.

During his visit to the local MDC office Burditt learned that stinkhorns are edible. Will he try one?
“I’ll try anything once,” he said. “I’m a poor man. I’ll eat what I can find. Besides, it’s cheaper than going to the grocery store.”

Burditt plans to prepare them like he would morels, by washing them and soaking them in salt water. After that he’ll fry them up.