Now if you are looking for something unusual to do on your vacation, how about coming down and viewing the opening of the "corpse flower"!
From what I understand, the opening of one of these flowers is rare here in the United States! Think that the way they smell has anything to do with that?
Hold your nose: Corpse flower to bloom at butterfly center
By KATHY HUBER
Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
July 8, 2010, 12:25AM
A rare Amorphophallus titanum is ready to bloom at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
• Size: Up to 5 feet across.
• Smell: Like rotting flesh.
• Native: Of Sumatran rainforest.
• U.S. history: The first cultivated plant to bloom in the United States flowered at the New York Botanical Gardens in 1937.
• See it: At the museum's Cockrell Butterfly Center, 5555 Hermann Park Dr.
• Updates: www.hmns.org.
The corpse flower is so rare that only 28 have ever been known to bloom in the United States. The 29th is poised to open any day now at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
The lime-green bud, which resembles an oversized endive, was nearing 5 feet tall on Wednesday in the museum's Cockrell Butterfly Center and has been growing about 4 inches a day. Cockrell director Nancy Greig says it could open Friday or by early next week. Once open, the corpse flower will last about two days.
"Is it pretty?" a visitor to the museum asked Greig.
"I'd say it's spectacular," she answered.
The bloom of the Amorphophallus titanum, which can stand 10 feet tall and measure up to 5 feet across, is one of the world's largest. And, as its common name implies, stinkiest.
The only other one to bloom in Texas came in 2004, when a 61-inch specimen nicknamed Big Jack put on a show at Stephen F. Austin State University's Mast Arboretum in Nacogdoches.
The botanical name is the first clue that this is one weird, horticultural wonder: Amorphophallus translates to "shapeless phallus." Titanum means "giant."
Native to Sumatran rainforests, the endangered and unpredictable species produces the world's largest unbranched inflorescence. It's technically not a single flower, but a cluster of flowers on a stem.
The bloom structure consists of a central, fleshy spadix, or stem, that stretches taller than a man. Thousands of male and female flowers surround the base. The spadix is sheathed in a pleated, leafy spathe that opens like a frilly, raw-liver-colored Elizabethan collar.
Related to jack-in-the-pulpit, calla and caladium, the corpse flower grows from an underground corm that can weigh up to 200 pounds. A $75 walnut-sized corm six years ago, the museum's plant — nicknamed Lois after a former staff member's mother - now weighs 30 pounds.
As its common name warns, the corpse flower is a smelly thing, with the withering stench of rotting flesh. As the spathe begins to unfurl, the spadix becomes a gas chamber, heating its natural oil and emitting noxious fumes for eight to 12 hours to attract pollinating carrion beetles.
Greig is asking other institutions that grow the plant, also called a titan arum, for pollen to help Lois set viable seed. The male and female flowers don't open at the same time, discouraging self-fertilization.
Flowering takes tremendous energy, and after her big act, Lois will collapse; the corm will drop weight and rest.
This would be a very interesting thing to watch! You just know that most kids would love it! Anything weird, kids are drawn to it, ya know?
Heck, I probably know several grown-ups that would be interested! But then, I know some strange people! Present company excluded, of course!
Now how about some fresh coffee on the patio. Worse smell out here is the roses!