Ileodictyon cibarium Tul. & C. Tul.
"White Basket Fungus"
Known as the “basket fungus”. The dark green-brown spore mass is quite foul smelling! When expanded the fruitng body can be 200–250 mm in diam.
There is a similar but golden coloured basket fungus, Clathrus chrysomycelinus, found in native forests. It seems to be quite rare.
It is very smelly - this is to attract flies to it, and the flies then end up spreading the spores. The spores are in the green-brown foul-smelling slime.
Kids - if you find one and want to take it to school, pick it up with a stick and put it in a large plastic bag like a grocery bag. If anyone complains about the smell you just tell them about the important purpose of the smell!
It starts off looking like a thin-skinned puff ball, and being the colour it is, it can be quite easy to miss seeing it.
Then this net-like white structure pops out and expands quite rapidly. These developing stages often aren't seen, and people usually only notice these fungi when the white basket structure when suddenly appears.
The Maoris referred to these fungi as "droppings of ghosts" because of their