Common Names: Stinky squid
Immature fruiting bodies resemble egg- or pear-shaped puffballs, grayish-brown to pale gray in color, with dimensions of 0.5 to 2.5 cm diameter; the top surface is broken into small regions by cracks or crevices (areolate). As the fungus matures, the fruiting body cracks open and forms a stalk with tapering arms, a volva, and a spore mass known as a gleba. The mature fruiting body is typically 3 to 6 cm in height, with arms that are 2 to 5 times the length of the stipe. The stipe itself does not extend past the volva, and is hollow, thin-walled, chambered, wrinkled, and flares towards the upper end. The color of the stipe is white or grayish-white; it is 1 to 3.5 cm in height, and 0.5 to 2.5 cm thick at the widest diameter. The three or four arms extending from the stipe average 3.6 cm in length and wrinkled on the side bearing the gleba. The arms, which are joined at the top, are shaped like a lance (lanceolate), pointed towards the apex; they are orange-colored. The internal structure of the arms is made of chambers; one large chamber towards the outside, and typically three smaller chambers on the inside of the arm. The gleba is commonly found on the upper two-thirds of the inside surface of the arms, and is dark green and slimy. The fetid odor of the gleba, described as fetid, like fresh pig manure, and attracts insects that help to disperse the spores.
This species grows scattered or in groups on disturbed soil in coniferous or mixed forests. It is also found growing on wood chips used as mulch in gardens or for landscaping.