Orange tubular weeds

Asked July 8, 2015, 8:41 AM EDT

Several of our mulched gardens have orange tubular things, possibly in the toadstool family (?) growing. The tubes appear to be about a half inch in diameter and maybe four to six inches tall. Any idea what they are and what to do about them?

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

What you see in the mulch are commonly called 'stinkhorn' fungi. The spores most likely came with the mulch and when the weather conditions were appropriate, they sporulated an put up their fungal bodies, the stinkhorns that you see. They are aptly named since they do smell somewhat of rotting flesh and are attractive to flies which help to spread the spores. Although not very attractive, they are harmless to the surrounding plants. They are not edible fungi and you should remove them when you see them. If you dig down into the mulch, you may find pockets of 'egg-like' sacs which are spore sacs and from which the stinkhorns emanate.
LS