Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Big Stink

This year has been my first year not working full-time since 2008.  I'm not going to lie, it's been GREAT!  With my extra time, I wanted to make sure I got out of the house and did fun (and free) activities and took my daughter to see new places.  One of the places we went to several times this year, was the Missouri Botanical Garden (MoBot).  It was really relaxing to push the stroller around the gardens and look at all the different plants bloom throughout the seasons.  Baby girl LOVES being outside too. 

During one of our expeditions we heard that the corpse flower, or titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) had just bloomed.  We took a stroll through the greenhouse and saw the tall plant had already closed its petals.  corpse flower!  I felt honored to be in its smelly presence.  The smell was not as terrible as I had imagined though.  It was stinky! Don't get me wrong. But I was expecting to find it so unbearably stinky, when in fact, it was more of a wafting stink.  (The most pungent odor only lasts 6-12 hours so I may have caught the very beginning or end.) 
The blooms only last for 24-48 hours and they don't bloom very often.  I was pretty heartbroken to have missed it, but little did I know, the garden had more than one plant.  Several weeks later another plant bloomed and I was determined to see it!  This time I went early and the plant had not opened up yet.  A couple days later and we were among the throng, lined up to see the stinky flower!  You would not believe how many people came to see the massive bloom!
The corpse flower is also the largest flower in the world.  So just to see the size of the bloom was pretty spectacular!  The botanists had cut a small opening in the base of the flower so the visitors could see the inside.  I'm so glad MoBot cultivated another bloom so quickly after the first.  They have had five blooms in the last three years!  There is also a tradition of naming the titan arum.  The first bloom of the year (the one I missed) was "Izzy".  The second pungent bloom was "Hunter." The garden has eight plants total, so maybe there will be another stinky flower in 2015.

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