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~