|Image: Shashidhara halady|
"Veiled Lady" is usually one of a whole host of common names reserved for one particular mushroom called Phallus indusiatus. It's a Stinkhorn and a Phallus, which means it's a close relative of our very own, slightly embarrassing, Common Stinkhorn (P. impudicus).
Unfortunately it renders the whole thing all the more eye-catching and intriguing. It would have been better if they'd just put a brown paper bag over the top. As it is, we now have a Phallus up to 25 cm (9.8 in) tall and wearing lingerie.
|Image: Peter Kuttner|
|Image: Noah Siegel|
|Image: Tim Adams|
Of course, they are all Stinkhorns so no matter how seductively dressed they may be, they still stink!
Smells so bad even the camera's eye is watering
The top is covered in the usual sticky, dark olive gleba. It stinks of faeces or rotting meat so as to attract flies who are into that sort of thing. Even the skirt itself may serve as an added attraction to insects who find the smell "OK but not all that great". As they crawl over the nastiness, spores stick to their feet and are carried away to pastures new, pastures clean and pure, pastures who have no need of this "modern art" with all its... body parts.
Some pastures "engage" with their anatomy just fine and don't need to "look at it in a new way" by dressing it up in juxtapositional finery to "challenge our preconceptions" and "ask questions" of our bits and bobs.
|Image: dhobern via Flickr|
|Image: ressaure via Flickr|
A Common Stinkhorn attempts to distinguish itself