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Fly on the Wall 

June 19, 2009

Freudian mushrooms in the news

There aren’t many people out there who would feel honored to have a foul smelling, two-inch, phallus-shaped fungus named after them – but herpetologist Bob Drewes is an exception to the rule. On a 2006 expedition to São Tomé, which involved Drewes (below, left) and researchers from a variety of scientific disciplines, Academy research fellow Dennis Desjardin discovered a new species of stinkhorn mushroom, and after a few jokes, the name Phallus drewesii stuck. Read more about it in the July/August issue of the journal Mycologia , or for more casual fungus fans, in the San Jose Mercury News.

Drewes with drewesii, photographer Wes EckermanPhallus drewesii, photographer Brian Perry

Filed under: Research Departments — Helen @ 10:15 am


  1. And who says that scientists don’t have a great sense of humor!

    Comment by Prof. Jeff Spalsbury — July 1, 2009 @ 7:21 am

  2. Why wasn’t the new mushroom named after its discoverer, Dennis Desjardin?

    Comment by Carol Carrillo — July 1, 2009 @ 8:14 am

  3. When will the current planetarium show be changed; what is next?

    Comment by simon — July 1, 2009 @ 8:21 am

  4. Simon – keep an eye out for a new show this fall…

    Comment by Helen — July 1, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  5. Carol – It’s up to the scientist who discovers a new species to name it, and in this case Dr. Desjardin did so with a sense of humor!

    Comment by Helen — July 1, 2009 @ 9:18 am

  6. What insects do you fine associated with this mushroom?

    Comment by Paul — July 1, 2009 @ 10:41 am

  7. The mushroom’s rotting flesh odor attracts flies who consume the brown-colored spores on the “head”. Then they fly off and disperse the spores throughout the forest (in other words, the spores pass through the flies’ digestive systems and hopefully get deposited on another piece of rotting wood).

    Comment by Helen — July 1, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

  8. Perhaps Mr. Desjardin felt the small fungus was inappropriate (too small) to call his own. X-D

    Comment by Linda — July 1, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

  9. Are these edible? Poisonous? Medicinal?

    Comment by June — July 1, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

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