"Monster" flower (21st October 2013)

Sick of the snails and slugs attacking my little vegetable and herb potted plants, I purchased a box of Multicrop 600g Multiguard Snail And Slug Killer (cost $3.98) from Bunnings Warehouse several weeks ago and sprinkled the red pellets all over the garden to kill the pests. There were many brands of snail and slug killer to choose from but I went for the pet and native bird friendly brand - I want the snails dead, not my neighbour's cat who seems to enjoy chilling out underneath our hedge in the backyard. 

Snail pellet

Since putting out the pellets, my plants seem to be thriving however I've noticed some monster-looking flowers popping up of late. Bright red star-shaped flowers with brown sticky slime that attract flies have appeared in the mulch and it looks absolutely disgusting (thus the term "monster"). Jono and I were wondering if this was the aftermath of the snail eating the pellets. After all, both the pellet and flower were similar in colour. Well, it turned out these "monster" flowers weren't exploded snails but are in fact the Aseroe rubra fungus, more commonly known as the anemone stinkhorn or starfish fungus (ah, the world of Google where everything you need to know is at your fingertips). Native to Australia, the fungus can be found in southeastern parts of Queensland through to NSW. I laughed when I read that the scientific name is derived from Ancient Greek and Latin to mean "disgust, juice, red". Oh it's disgusting alright! Those brown slime are actually sticky spore-bearing substance with a foul smell like faeces or carrion attracting flies which helps the fungus spread its spores. Though there aren't any known harm to humans or animals who have come in contact with the fungus, it is best to dispose of them when found since it attracts flies. I'll be wearing gloves when getting rid of mine, that's for sure!

Aseroe rubra aka the "monster" flower



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