The stinkhorns are a family of fungi, the Phallaceae. Belonging to the fungal order Phallales, the Phallaceae have a worldwide distribution, but are especially common in tropical regions. Their mushrooms are foul-smelling, sticky spore masses, or gleba, on the end of a stalk.
|The common stinkhorn, Phallus impudicus|
Their mushroom distinguishes the Phallaceae from other families in the Phalalles. The spore mass smells of carrion or dung, and attracts flies and other insects to help disperse the spores. Although a great diversity of body structure shape exists between the various genera, all species in the Phallaceae begin their development as oval or round structures known as "eggs". According to a 2008 estimate, the family contains 21 genera and 77 species.