According to The Gardening Dad, in Iowa, morel mushrooms are typically found in late March to mid-May. Normally, the cooler the spring, the more mushrooms you can spot/forage in May. That doesn't mean you can't spot other kinds of mushrooms this time of the year. If you have a garden, crop debris, or an area covered in wood chips, you might be able to smell this mushroom before you actually see it.

If you do find this fungus in or around your could remind you of something else.

The Stinkhorn Mushroom

Let's get this out of the way right now, we're all mature adults here. This thing looks like it could be part of the male anatomy. The shape is quite phallic. Its description, according to Iowa State University, doesn't do it any favors either for the jokes you and I are both thinking of right now either.

"There are several common stinkhorn fungi found in Iowa, and they range from about 4 to 8 inches in height."

Do you think the 5-inch Stinkhorns lie to the other Stinkhorns and tell them they're really 7.5 inches in height? Guys, start sending pictures of these instead of the actual naughty ones. I swear those will be the only jokes...

Stinkhorns are called stinkhorns because...they stink. The smell could be compared to rotting meat or animal droppings. This bad odor is used to attract insects in the hope that they crawl over them. Once the insects are done crawling over them, they are covered in spores and fly away. As these insects go about their day, they assist in spreading this fungus.

If you do come across one of these mushrooms, you should know that they are not poisonous, according to Why Farm It. That doesn't mean you should just pick one from the ground and start chowing down. These mushrooms can and have made people's stomachs upset but for the most part, they are not harmful to people, pets, or plants and they can be beneficial to your garden.

According to Why Farm It, "The first major benefit of stinkhorns is that they help recycle dead organic material into nutrients or fertilizer. This means they are incredibly beneficial in the garden or compost pile. The second significant benefit is that as eggs, they are edible and even seen as a delicacy by some cultures."

Unsplash - Ali Burhan
Unsplash - Ali Burhan

If you come across one of these mushrooms, you're likely to smell it before you see it. Once you see it, you might have a difficult time un-seeing it.

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