This is the flower bud of a corpse plant, named for the rancid corpse like smell the flower emits when it blooms. The smell attracts carrion beetles who pollinate the flower. The flower itself is the tallest in the world and can grow up to twelve feet in the wild. You can get a sense of how huge the bud is by comparing it to the exit door in the first photo, and the child in the second. It grows only on the island of Sumatra and is extremely endangered with about 1000 of the plants left in the wild. The flower bud grows six inches a day, and when it blooms, the flower only lasts for 48 hours. There are two of these flowers at The San Diego Botanic Garden. Watch the first one bloom in a time lapse video below filmed by Botanic Garden staff, appropriately enough, on Halloween:
This plant reminds me of the Saturday Sci Fi movies I used to watch as a kid! The plant takes about ten years to bloom, and will only bloom every four-ten years thereafter. It’s corm can weigh 339 pounds! As the flower begins to bloom, the temperature of parts of the flower rise by up to 10 degrees Celsius in a process called thermogenesis. The second bud at the San Diego Botanic Garden is due to bloom around Thanksgiving. The garden stays open until midnight during the bloom and 5000 people queued to see the first flower! People drive from out of state to see it.
Notice the detail of the bud petals. It looks a bit like a giant Bok choy!
This is the base of the first flower that bloomed. The female flowers are the red ones on the bottom, and the males are the brown ones above. It is the male flowers that rise in temperature during the bloom.
Cheers to you from the soon to bloom, very tall, and very stinky corpse flower~
The Holler spring bloom is on, and I am home to photograph it for a change, so I am going to post a series on Holler spring flowers, starting with these beauties. The Cup of Gold flowering vine grows prolifically, and the blooms are humongous, about eight inches in diameter.
Hong Kong Orchid Trees have stunning blossoms that blanket the trees in spring.
Matilija Poppies are one of my favorite flowers and are Southern California natives, with huge fried-egg blossoms, about eight inches in diameter.
Reliable African Iris propagate beautifully at The Holler.
Wild Stinging Lupine cover bare areas, are beautiful to look at, but not nice to touch.
The Californian Fuchsia is native to Southern California but I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was in the fuchsia family but was stumped with identification. So my talented blogging friend Eliza Waters, who has a degree in horticulture and is a Master Gardener, helped me out. If you don’t know Eliza, and you like things that bloom and grow, you may want to check out her blog: https://elizawaters.com/about/
Bougainvillea are touch and go at The Holler due to frost. This one is definitely a go!
Ghost ranches, buried old cars, coyote packs, a former free range Ankole Watusi bull, The Holler is definitely an odd place, which is why we fit in so well!
Take this thorny tree for example. It is a Silk Floss tree and is about 50 feet tall.
This time of year it is covered in plate sized cotton poofs.
The poofs develop from large seed pods.
In the fall, the tree drops its leaves and devotes all its energy to producing masses of beautiful blooms.
The Holler abuts a large nature preserve and is built on very old orchards. Back in the day, orchard workers lived on site and indulged in their love of exotic plants and trees, many of which are still thriving and producing today.
I often wish I could tell them how much we appreciate living with the beautiful results of their talent and effort.