Friday, April 11, 2008
This rare plant had received a great deal of press as an international botanical event so I went to the Conservatory to see and smell it for myself. It began its bloom period on Wednesday, March 9 and lasted approximately 36 hours, according to a guide. By the time I got there on Thursday at approximately 10 a.m., the plant was dying and losing its bloom--the odor that is likened to rotting flesh was gone.
The flower is lime green with a phallic-like stalk and, when blooming, has a leafy purple and green "cape." Its soil temperature is monitored and at the base of the stalk are seedlike structures, which turn out to be the male and female features. The pollen is to be collected and spread around so that other corpses may bloom! The flowering version of the plant is so rare that plant experts know how many times it has happened in conservatories since it was discovered in Sumatra in the late 19th century. Ours was no. 122, one of the smallest on record, topping out at around 29 inches.
Alas I missed the peak blooming and olfactory experience and will now have to wait for 15 more years before it blooms again! I wonder if it's worth it?!