June 13th, 2009


Of Corpse Flowers and Carnivorous Plants

In the next couple of days, the much heralded "Son of Stinky" corpse flower will bloom at The Huntington. I stopped by this morning to check it out.

"Son of Stinky" at the Huntington, June 13, 2009.
Height as of this photo: 6'4"

The amorphophallus titanum plant is really weird and fascinating. It is from Sumatra and grows from an underground corm. The plant will either send up one gigantic leaf or a bloom. The leaf can be 12 feet tall, has a long smooth stem and a bunch of leaflets making it look more like a tree than a leaf.

"Big Stinky" - the original Corpse Flower which bloomed at the Huntington in 1999 and 2002.

The bloom can be 8 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter. When it blooms, it smells like rotting flesh which is why in Indonesia, it is called "Bunga Bankai" which means "Corpse Flower." The smell attracts the carrion beetles, flesh flies and sweat bees that help pollinate it.

The Huntington is now estimating that the plant will bloom on Monday and is planning to open the gardens on Tuesday, when it is usually closed, to the public. There will be a reduced adult admission rate of $8, since only the gardens and conservatory will be open.

While I was in the conservatory I also checked out the carnivorous plants.

Pitcher Plants in the Bog Garden

A few more photos are in a flickr set:

There are poems here. I know it!