The Phallaceae are a family of fungi, commonly known as stinkhorn mushrooms. Belonging to the fungal order Phallales, the Phallaceae have a worldwide distribution, but are especially prevalent in tropical regions. They are known for their foul smelling sticky spore masses, or gleba, borne on the end of stalks called the receptaculum. The characteristic fruiting body structure—a single, unbranched receptaculum with an externally attached gleba on the upper part—distinguish the Phallaceae from other families in the Phalalles. The spore mass typically smells of carrion or dung, and attracts flies and other insects to help disperse the spores. Although there is a great diversity of body structure shape amongst the various genera, all species in the Phallaceae begin their development as oval or round structures known as "eggs". According to a 2008 estimate, the family contains 21 genera and 77 species.
A fungus (pron.: //; plural: fungi or funguses) is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds (British English: moulds), as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria. One major difference is that fungal cells have cell walls that contain chitin, unlike the cell walls of plants, which contain cellulose. These and other differences show that the fungi form a single group of related organisms, named the Eumycota (true fungi or Eumycetes), that share a common ancestor (a monophyletic group). This fungal group is distinct from the structurally similar myxomycetes (slime molds) and oomycetes (water molds). The discipline of biology devoted to the study of fungi is known as mycology (from the Greek μύκης, mukēs, meaning "fungus"). Mycology has often been regarded as a branch of botany, even though it is a separate kingdom in biological taxonomy. Genetic studies have shown that fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants.