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Phallus indusiatus Vent.
by Tan Kok Kiat
Newsletter
Phallus indusiatus Vent.
by Tan Kok Kiat

Phallus indusiatus, commonly known as bamboo fungus, bridal veil fungus, veiled lady or Long Net Stinkhorn (Dash et al., 2010), was initially named by Etienne Pierre Ventenat, a French naturalist in 1798. In 1809, Desvaux placed it in a new genus Dictyophora. It has since been reclassified under its original name, that is, Phallus indusiatus Vent. This fungus belongs to the family Phallaceae, more commonly known as the stinkhorns of which there are five genera and nine species in Malaysia (Lee et al., 2012).

In India, Phallus indusiatus was reported to grow best at temperatures of between 21 degree Celcius to 25 degree Celcius in moist bamboo thickets at 300 - 600 m a.s.l. with 45 - 85% relative humidity (Dash et al., 2010). This fungus can be found in tropical areas, which include Mexico, South America, Malaysia, Australia, southern China, Hong Kong and Japan (Dash et al., 2010). This species also occurs on sandy soil, plant debris and rich substrates in general (Baseia et al., 2006). It is easy to identify due to the presence of a well-developed indusium, white pseudostipe and volva. The indusium is a net-like structure with polyhedral or round links and is pale yellowish-white in colour. The cap is covered with a greenish-brown slime termed as “gleba”. The cup-shaped volva at the base of the pseudostipe is white and thick. The life cycle of this fungus is around 15 - 30 days. The mature fruiting body emits a sharp, sickly-sweet odour of carrion to attract bees and flies. The insects feed on the slimy gleba which contains the spores and eventually deposit their waste matter somewhere else thereby disseminating the spores.

Phallus indusiatus is widespread across tropical areas and has yet to be assessed by the IUCN. In some parts of China people eat the fungus as part of their diet (Dash et al., 2010). Due to their anti-oxidative and nutritional bioactivity properties, the ancient Chinese have been using this fungus to treat many inflammatory, gastric and neural diseases since 618 AD (Ker et al., 2011).

References

  1. Chua, L.S.L., Lee, S.S., Lee, S.S., Alias, S.A., Jones, E.G.B., Zainuddin, N. & Chan, H.T. (2012). Checklist of Fungi of Malaysia, Issue/No. 132. Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Malaysia. pp. 556.
  2. Dash, P.K., Sahu, D.K., Sahoo, S. & Das, R. (2010). Phallus indusiatus Vent. & Pers. (Basidiomycetes) – a new generic record for Eastern Ghats of India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2 (8): pp. 1096-1098
  3. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2011, 2011
  4. Horcajada, G.M.. Boletín de la Sociedad Micológica de Madrid, Volume 30, p. 365, 2006
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