It's winter and it's still fungi season, so if you're sick of seeing fungi posts... TOO BAD! This one is a particularly special treat, an Anemone Stinkhorn!
It is named appropriately: the bifurcating branches on the fruiting body look just like a sea anemone's and they exude a smell strongly redolent of carrion or – to my nose – an infant's soiled nappy. Indeed, their scientific name, Aseroe rubra, means "red disgusting liquid". After unfurling their warty crimson tentacles from an egg-like sac, a slimy brown "gleba" is revealed on their surface which is crammed full of spores. Their putrescence attracts flies on the search for rotting flesh, and after landing they spread these spores far and wide.
It is found across Australia and New Zealand, often seen growing in garden mulch; this one was spotted bursting forth from a pile of leafy detritus in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. What an amazing gem to find right in the centre of the city!