An Unusual Find
I have chosen the title for this post guardedly. For me, this is something rather unusual, which had me seeking on-line help to uncover its identity. Having read various sources, however, I have now discovered that this is a common fungus of the east-coast of Australia. So what have I learned about this peculiarity of my front yard?
This is Aseroe rubra, more widely known as anemone stinkhorn or starfish fungus. Its basic structure you can see from the photograph... a red starfish shape with divided arms. However, the 'starfish' sits upon a white stalk, which apparently can grow up to 10 centimetres in height. The stinkhorn is completed by a layer of brown slime. It is from this feature which the fungus derives its common name: the slime emits a foul odour in order to attract flies which then spread its spores.
From the photograph you can see that Aseroe rubra is in a mulched section of my garden. This is one of its favoured habitats.
Personal discoveries like this are part of the fascination of gardening.