Saturday, May 28, 2005

going out to smell the roses...or....

Or in this case, I might go out this weekend to smell the Titan arum—popularly called the "corpse flower." It gets its name from the fact that its scent is like that of rotting flesh. Amazing. Anyway, a gigantic “corpse flower” is set to bloom this weekend in San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers, so the Conservatory is expecting a huge crowd. The plant, which has the scientific name Amorphophallus titanium, blooms only every couple of years and the flower lasts 3 to 4 days. The last time it bloomed was in 2003 and people then compared its scent to dirty socks or to San Francisco Bay at low tide on a hot day. Heh.

According to Scot Medbury, director of the Conservatory of Flowers, the flower is “more bizarrely beautiful than anything you can imagine, but it's something that really evolved on this planet." Looking at a picture of it, it is indeed huge for a flower, which can grow to 9 feet tall. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that this world-famous flower has even been featured in an episode of "The Simpsons." Will you get a load of that.

Now, this plant is not indigenous to California, but is a native of Sumatra. And the plant, which is a relative of the calla lily, uses its scent to attract insects that mistake its pungent scent for food.

If you would like to see a picture of this amazing flower, see here.

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