If you spot this in your garden, here’s what it actually is. “I had no idea”.

Have you ever been left in awe by the sheer unpredictability of nature? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been watching a documentary or stumbled upon a YouTube video and been left shocked by just how raw and – I’ll be frank – terrifying nature can be. The truth is, many of us know very little about the world around us, and that’s okay – the world is a very, very big place, after all.

While that thought might be disconcerting to some, I think it’s also important to remember that the many hidden wonders of the world are what make this giant rock we all call home so special. Wouldn’t it be a tad boring if everything looked and acted the same?

I’ll confess to having a natural curiosity about all things ‘wild’, so it’s hardly a surprise that I was drawn to a particular video about a fascinating species of fungus known as the Octopus Stinkhorn.

Keep reading to learn, what’s so special about it…

An Unforgettable Encounter with Nature

Nature has a way of surprising us, often when we least expect it. My first encounter with the Octopus Stinkhorn, also referred to as the “devil’s fingers,” was one such moment. This fungus has an exceedingly distinctive appearance, and its road to maturity is every bit as captivating.

If you didn’t know this fungus existed prior to reading this article, don’t worry, you’re not alone! The Octopus Stinkhorn is reportedly native to Australia and New Zealand.

Despite its exotic origins, this fungus can now be found in other continents, including Europe and North America.

The Global Spread of the Fungus

The distinctive fungus appears to sprout from what looks like a broken egg (it’s not), before forming into a number of elongated, pink arms. These arms give it the appearance of a sea creature rather than a terrestrial fungus.

From Egg to Tentacle: The Growth Stages

The life cycle of the Octopus Stinkhorn is a fascinating journey from a seemingly mundane start to a bizarre and somewhat eerie adulthood.

The lifecycle begins in what resembles a small, white egg. This initial stage is often overlooked because it looks quite ordinary. However, inside this egg, remarkable transformations are taking place.

As the fungus matures, it breaks through the egg casing, revealing bright red, tentacle-like arms. These arms, which can be quite startling in appearance, spread out from the central core, making it look like an alien creature emerging from the earth.

If the Octopus Stinkhorn’s appearance wasn’t enough to creep you out, the fungus reportedly gives off the stink of rotting flesh when it reaches maturity! This is not just a random occurrence. The foul odor serves a very specific purpose: attracting flies. These insects are drawn to the smell, mistaking it for decaying meat.

Once the flies land on the fungus, they pick up spores on their bodies. As they move on to other locations, they inadvertently spread these spores, helping the fungus to propagate and colonize new areas.

See more the video below:

Wow! Have you ever seen anything like this? Let us know.

If you spot this in your garden, here’s what it actually is. “I had no idea”.
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