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Friday, June 4, 2010

Bring on the Corpse . . . Flower that is!

 (Image from The Huntington Gardens.  All Rights Reserved.)
Exciting news for LA plant enthusiasts and fans of the macabre alike.  The Huntington Garden reported today that their Amorphophallus titanum, or corpse flower, has opened and is now blooming!  Depending on nature's whims, LA residents have another day or two to run out and catch a whiff of the foul smell that the plant uses to attract pollinators in its native rainforest ecosystem.  Perfect timing for a weekend visit for those so inclined. 

On The Hungtington's stinkyblog (their name, not mine), you can find out more about the plant, and see time lapse images of the bloom. Lisa Boone and the LA Times also provided a nice overview of the plant on Thursday:
Thursday afternoon the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino posted a coy message on its Twitter account: "A fly has been spotted buzzing around the Corpse Flower bud. Does he know something?"

Officials later released a statement declaring that Amorphophallus titanum, the so-called corpse flower nicknamed for its pungent odor, "will likely open in the next 2 to 4 days -- subject to nature's whims, of course."

Huntington curator Dylan P. Hannon added that healthy adult plants can flower every three to five years, "but that is not to say they will follow any pattern."

This year's corpse flower is smaller than its predecessors, making it difficult for curators to predict when it will bloom. The plant, shown at right, measured 3 feet, 8 inches high on Thursday. Regardless of size, it's expected to smell equally rotten. According to the Huntington, the odor gives rainforest insects a heads-up that the plant is ready for pollination.

As reported earlier,
the flower appears infrequently and lasts for only about a day. To see and smell the flower is still considered a rare event, as you have to be in the right place at the right time.

Corpse groupies can get up-to-date information on  the Huntington's website, on Facebook or on Twitter. The garden even has created the Stinky blog.

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