Phallus rubicundus, when mature, shows a cylindrical stem in some shade of red atop which there is a closely-fitting cap. It may reach 15 cm in height (but often is less) and the diameter is 1-2 cm. The stem is much like blown foam and is largely empty and the cap carries a smelly slime which holds the spores.
This is a stinkhorn and, like all stinkhorns, starts out like a small, gelatinous egg (perhaps 2-3 cm in length). The 'egg shell' is a dirty whitish membrane that holds the immature fruitbody. At maturity the stem expands, breaking the membrane. Occasionally a small fragment of that membrane may remain stuck to the top of the stem, but in general the only remnant of the membrane is around the base of the stem (as a cup-like surround, technically a volva). You may have to scrape away some soil or leaf litter to reveal the volva. The smell and the red colour (resembling fresh meat) attract dung-loving or carrion-loving invertebrates which carry the spores further afield.
The original description of this species was published in 1811, by Louis Augustin Guillaume Bosc, based on a specimen found in North America and here is a translation of the original French text:
The stem is fusiform, spongy, red, surrounded at the base by a small grey volva; the cap is conical, smooth, brown and topped with a small oval hole. This species grows in autumn and is found only in the driest areas of lower Carolina. It gives forth a very disagreeable odour. The volva contains a jelly; the stem is perforated by numerous random and irregular holes. The cap is covered with a slime that melts away at maturity or a few hours after it has been collected.
Fusiform means wider in the middle than at the top or the bottom. For anyone wanting to read the original (available at more than one site online), see Magazin der Gesellschaft Naturforschenden Freunde Berlin, Volume 5 (1811), page 86. Bosc included an illustration (see figure 8 of plate 6 in that volume) and he called this fungus Satyrus rubicundus, the change in genus dating to 1823.
Phallus rubicundus is listed in the following regions:
Canberra & Southern Tablelands | South Coast | Greater Brisbane
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MapsBluetts Block Area Callum Brae Crace Grasslands Denman Prospect 2 Estate Deferred Area (Block 12) Hughes Garran Woodland Illilanga & Baroona Mount Ainslie to Black Mountain Mulligans Flat Namadgi National Park Piney Ridge Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Red Hill to Yarralumla Creek Urambi Hills Wandiyali-Environa Conservation Area
PlacesActon, ACT Aranda, ACT Curtin, ACT Denman Prospect, ACT Dickson, ACT Forde, ACT Fraser, ACT Garran, ACT Gilmore, ACT Googong, NSW Gundaroo, NSW Hackett, ACT Holt, ACT Kambah, ACT Michelago, NSW Mitchell, ACT Narrabundah, ACT Paddys River, ACT Spence, ACT Symonston, ACT Throsby, ACT Tuggeranong DC, ACT Wamboin, NSW Wanniassa, ACT