“What’s that Smell?”

Let me begin by recounting the words ascribed to one of my favorite oddities in nature:

Repugnant. Fetid. Malodorous.

Reeky. Stinky.

Truly, the basket stinkhorn is all these things, yet it is wonderous!

This fungus begins its brief display in what looks like an egg. Inside the egg is a compressed basked laden with a substance called gleba. The gleba is loaded with spores and the smell.

As if this isn’t already strange enough, when the egg opens and the basket begins to expand, a structure called the volva holds the rhizomorph roots in the ground.

From an egg to a basket! Once in full-basket bloom, the flies and insects begin to notice the stink, and are drawn to it. Spores are then spread by these visitors.

The basket stinkhorn always catches me off guard. When I catch a whiff of what smells like a dead animal, I start looking for just that. It isn’t long before I spy an orange-reddish basket and I realize it is not flora or fauna but fungus.

Clathrus ruber

Commonly known as red cage, witch’s heart, lattice stinkhorn, and of course, basket stinkhorn.

More to explore

IRS Guidelines for Gifts from Donor Advised Funds to Support MAGC Events

Thank you for your interest in giving to the Marin Art & Garden Center events from your Donor Advised Fund (DAF) or Family Foundation.

We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support!

To ensure your gift follows the current IRS guidelines for DAF/Family Foundation support of an event, we would like to share the below guidelines with you.

  • Raffle tickets, tickets to galas and other special events, auction items, and benefits conferred in connection with a DAF/foundation grant are not permitted.
    • IRS has specifically ruled that fair market value associated with fundraising events cannot be separated, a practice known as “bifurcation.”
      • For example, with Edible Garden, if the price of the ticket is $200 and the FMV fair market value (non-tax-deductible amount) is designated to be $50, the donor must pay from sources other than her DAF/foundation for the full value of the ticket ($200) and not just for the non-tax-deductible amount ($50).
    • We recommend you confer with your financial advisor to confirm if any of these examples of how donors may still use their DAF to support an event would work for you:
      • A donor could sponsor the event, and not attend, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event using DAF/foundation funds and attend by purchasing an individual ticket through non-DAF/foundation funds.
      • A donor could sponsor the event, join the event as a guest of another donor/table guest, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event and host the afforded number of people at their chosen level as long as they pay for the seats at the lowest ticket price ($200 for Edible Garden) outside of their DAF.
        • As an example, a $1,500 sponsor that covers 2 guests, could pay for their sponsorship with $400 from a different source of funds, and then give an additional gift of $1,100 out of their DAF.


Please email Tod Thorpe, Director of Development at tod.thorpe@maringarden.org to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center