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An impudent fungus

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The fungus shown above, which was growing in Harcourt Arboretum back in the autumn of 2011, is (I believe – feel free to correct me if you know better) the common stinkhorn, with the scientific name Phallus impudicus, for fairly obvious reasons. According to Wikipedia, despite its foul smell it is eaten (when young) in parts of France and Germany.* It also says that in northern Montenegro they are fed to young bulls as they are thought to be a potent aphrodisiac. It’s that suggestive shape again.

A lot of my classmates are American, and as they’re all plant lovers it was inevitable that one of them would eventually begin a discussion about Morning Glories. You see, in America, Morning Glories are simply ornamental flowering plants from a number of different genera – including Calystegia, Convolvulus and Ipomoea.

For those of you who aren’t British, let me just tell you now that you have to be very careful saying Morning Glory over here, because it’s a slang term for nocturnal penile tumescence; it’s a little bit ironic, as Morning Glories aren’t woody plants….

Morning glory can also refer to a tasty leafy vegetable used in Asian cuisine – Ipomoea aquatica, which is on my To Grow list when I have a garden again. I’ve had it a couple of times at a Thai restaurant, and it has to be said that I am smitten. Lovely stuff.

And Ipomoea tricolor is also known as Morning Glory, and is an entheogenic plant – a psychoactive drug, basically, used in shamanic and other spiritual rituals. If you’re interested in entheogenic plants then the Vaults of Erowid is a good site.

If you’re in the mood for love today, check out my Valentine post from last year – How to form a lasting relationship with your tools; or if you’ve read that and want something new, Radix is writing on the many roots to bedroom bliss!


*Be safe, people 🙂 Please check any wild plant/ fungi IDs very carefully before you tuck in.