that mushroom time lapse post made me think about how the sex organs of some fungi look similar to penises and now my mind is blown. like??? why would human sex organs look similar to the sex organs of a mushroom please help
i was actually reading about this in a book the other day (the intro was talking about the penis-like structures of stinkhorns specifically). the answer is….its purely a coincidence.
for fungi, the goal of a mushroom is to spread their millions of children far and wide. they do this by running into a compatible fungus under the ground and ‘mating’ with them, meaning that they fuse a little and start building the initial fungus structure. when it’s finished, they just inflate the already-finished cells with water, which is why they can sprout up out of nowhere overnight and why they have the ‘inflating’ effect u see in those gifs (note: this doesn’t count for shelf mushrooms and other long-lasting mushroom structures, where the fungi just build a really hearty structure that they grow new layers on each year, but if we’re talking about Dick Fungi then we’re talking more about the ones that sprout from the ground and wilt in a few days/weeks). fun fact, this is what a stinkhorn mushroom looks like before it’s inflated:
nervous.jpg. to pick the above image apart a little, stinkhorns work by having a coat of sticky, smelly substance full of spores coating their very-nsfw-ish caps that attracts insects to carry it off into the sunset. in this pic, the outer layer is a protective covering that the mushroom breaks through, the brownish jelly stuff just inside that is the spore substance that coats the mushroom, the greenish layer forms the actual head of the mushroom, and the white layer forms the stalk. this is easier to see when u look at an inflated one (that in this case has a lot of the spore goop already eaten off):
this is an especially lewd patch with one inflated and two uninflated. its just very unfortunate lmao, like….really unfortunate in this case holy shit
anyway, the resulting structure- which spits spores that are the sexual result of the two fungi mating- is apparently just functional. if you want to spread your spores, you want to be high enough off the ground for the wind to carry them off or for bugs to see it or for water to hit it or w/e, so u gotta have a stalk to support the actual spore structure. from there, u just gotta have something to transmit the spores, wether it be by wind or water or w/e, and for whatever reason….they just Look Like That. like thats just…..a very unfortunately highly effective shape, i guess.