This stink-horn has a hollow stem that is whitish or pinkish, contained at first within the volva but which then continues to elongate with 4 to 6 scarlet arms that rise from the top of the stem which divide in two. The tips of which are joined to the adjacent pair when young, but break free as they age.
This Clathrus species appears to be a bit of a mystery; some think it's a large Aseroe rubra, while others think it's a Clathrus archeri, but the descriptions of these two species don't fit well with this Clathrus species. Common around Auckland and only found in wood chip mulch which has been slowly moving south over the past 20 years, having already reached Wellington.
Resent DNA sequencing has shown this to be Clathrus archeri, but anyone who is familiar with this species is not likely to agree. There are far too many differences. Yet none of the mycologists I have asked seems to know why it's different and why the distribution pattern.
When looking into why the sequencing does not make sense, I found out that DNA sequencing is not a very good tool to tell apart two closely related species or subspecies. On top of this, many mycologists believe that GenBank contains too many errors, as high as 30%, that can lead to misidentification.
At present, there is no paper published for this species or its sequencing, so till then I prefer to call this species Clathrus sp. rather than a name based on little more than what is hearsay.
Common name: Kings Crown
Found: Urban Gardens
Substrate: Wood chips
Height: 100 mm
Width: 200 mm
Season: Autumn to Spring