Mistletoe, and Stinkhorn

I asked Nigel to take me to the local transfer station to drop off some glass and then it occurred to me to also do a little trip over to Black Gully Reserve and see if the native mistletoe flowers are visible yet. To my delight the mistletoe is already looking great, and there was an unexpected bonus. We’ve just had some warm days and a fair bit of rain and under the mistletoe I spotted what I believe to be.. Octopus Stinkhorn! This one does have eight ‘legs’ hehe! Otherwise known as Devil’s Fingers 🙂 Folks overseas may have seen this fungus – it’s spread from NZ/Australia (via the military during World Wars 1 and 2).

Click on any photo to enlarge.


Starting with the native mistletoe.. they’re like flouro cotton buds 😀


Octopus Stinkhorn aka Devil’s Fingers or Clathrus archeri

I saw this bright red ‘starfish’ thing on the ground …

and looked closer. I saw flies were visiting it. I didn’t smell anything but I’ve read they’re smelly and attract flies which then spread the spores. Nice system!

Nigel had his cellphone so I asked him to take the photos. Grateful!


Text by Liz; photos by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2021)

10 thoughts on “Mistletoe, and Stinkhorn

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    1. I think they’ll turn out a red colour. We have a number of mistletoe endemic to New Zealand, and different kinds have different berry colours. One is white/pink, another bright yellow, some orange, and some red. If you’d like to see some I’ll give you this link ~then type mistletoe into their search box. The top results will give you a number of different mistletoe species – some of the posts have good berry pictures. So here’s the url: https://www.citscihub.nz/

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      1. That’s fascinating, Liz. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of mistletoe. I assume one may still kiss when standing under a mistletoe branch at Christmas, even without knowing the exact species. 🙂

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  1. Amazing-looking plants! The mistletoe flowers are very striking and unusual, but that fungus is something else! It looks as if it has either crept out of the sea or else is a tiny visiting alien… 🙂

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    1. If you come across the Octopus Stinkhorn you’ll know it’s from Down Under! It’s in the New Forest, I read it spread from areas where they know there were military exercises and it got right through the Forest in 20 years. UK people usually call it Devil’s Fingers, actually I’ve seen photos on Twitter posted by UK folks quite recently.. and had no idea at the time that it’s an antipodean native escapee lol 😀

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      1. Interesting! I had no idea that it was over here! Now I’ll know where it escaped from, if I ever find one. And I’ll know that it didn’t appear from outer space, LOL!

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