Sunday, June 6, 2010

Corpse Flower- Amorphophallus titanum

Jeff and I are officially on vacation. Our first excursion turned out to be to the Huntington Gardens in San Marino. It seems that the Huntington has been lucky enough to have a third blooming of a Corpse flower. The one this year is the product of an experimental pollination done on the bloom from 1999. A Corpse Flower bloomed in 2009 also. 
I have been following and found out that a blooming was immanent.  On Friday afternoon about 2 PM the Huntington announced that the bloom had started to open, a process which can take as long as 7 hours.  So we headed over there on Saturday, arriving around noon and scurried straight to the Conservatory where Stinky the Corpse Flower resides. Signs posted with a red arrow pointed the way to Stinky's abode.

The Conservatory

These signs were posted inside the Conservatory at the prime viewing spots. Stinky was located on the lowest level of the 85 degree, 52 % humidity green house, almost under the upper walkway. The closest we could get to her was about 10 feet away. 
The bloom had already begun to close, and the famous order was not present. These flowers only smell for about the first 12 hours when open, to attract the beetles, flies and bees that it needs to assist in pollination. There was however a bottle of 'sample stink' which I took a whiff of and indeed the odor was like extremely putrified meat.

 Stinky is 44 inches tall

Luckily, Stinky was open enough to still display her beautiful dark magenta inner color

Great Colors

The tall column part of the plant is called the spadix, about a week after the blooming it will rot away naturally. The outside petal like cover that is red inside is called the spathe. The 'flower' can grow up to 6 inches per day! At 44 inches Stinky was rather short for her species. About 6 months after the blooming there will be a 'fruit' that contains seeds where the bloom is now.

1 comment:

Paul Baxendale said...

Wow! That is really interesting! When I saw the words "corpse flower" I was expecting photos of a big red and white spotted Rafflesia (something Ive always wanted to see in person!) but instead learned that there is another flower famous for it's dubious stink! This one is beautiful-- I like that velvety purple color. You probably watched it, but there is a time lapse video of one of these blooming if you search "corpse flower" on youtube.
Thanks for sharing!!!

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