The following post was written by Woodlore’s Leather Worker, Becky Brewster:
I thought I would share an unusual find – these were in a field in Horam, East Sussex. The first one was about 2 meters from the edge of the field and had the appearance of a starfish just dropped on the grass. Closer inspection revealed it was growing from the ground and so we looked further and found these ‘beauties’ at the very edge. I have never seen these before so took some photos to help with identification. My outdoor team colleagues tell me they are the Octopus Stinkhorn fungi and quite rare.
The arms apparently erupt from the egg-like earlier stage of growth and are joined at the tip like the fingers of a poking hand: no wonder that together with their vivid red colour and putrid smell they are also known as Devil’s Fingers!
– Becky Brewster
They look so alien, but I’ve been told that they are native to Australia and New Zealand and that the first spores came to Europe in 1914, transported in the fleeces used under saddles of horses brought over with the Anzac troops.