April 11, 2013

Not Your Everyday Flower

How's it going on this fine Thursday for you? I love Thursdays for the sheer satisfaction of saying, "Tomorrow's Friday!"
Yesterday I had the pleasure of making an impromptu trip to my alma mater's greenhouse to see a very rare sight!
The botany department at Miami University has been cultivating one of the world's largest flowers, the Titan Arum, and on Tuesday night it finally bloomed! I found out about Miami's cool specimen when the university put this beauty up on Instagram.
Native to the rainforests of Centeral Sumatra in Indonesia, this rare flower is one of less than 200 that have bloomed in cultivation! Not only is it the world's largest flower but also the stinkiest boasting a robust smell of rotting flesh--yuck! That's how it gets its cool nickname "the corpse flower". 
What got me all excited about this flower was not just that it was a rare once in a lifetime opportunity to see, but that my 3rd grade students recently read about this flower in my class. We looked at pictures from the rainforest and watched a video clip about it and the kids were SO intrigued. You can imagine my nerdy teacher educational excitement when I realized that I could give my students a firsthand account of this rare bloom!
The bloom only lasts about 2 days before it closes up and wilts away again and it could be many years before it ever blooms again. Already one day behind, you better believe I hopped in my car and made the hour drive to get my glimpse! 
As you will notice, my pictures aren't as pretty as the night it bloomed because it's already begun to wilt, but I loved being able to see it in person. It was a cool sight that I can't wait to share with my students!

I know what you're thinking..."was the smell really that bad?" Apparently the smell is the worst as it's blooming--for about the first 12 hours it's open. I'm assuming that since I was seeing it well after this point, time affected the potency. 
If you leaned in nice in close like these munchkins it definitely left you with a lingering bad scent. The stench wasn't noticeable upon walking in, but standing on the open side of the flower definitely sent a nasty odor wafting around the room. It smelled like something had died and was rotting, but not as strongly as I expected it to.

 My sister caught this funny candid of me while I was waiting to take a pic with the flower. I swear I wasn't actually giving people the stink eye to get them out of my shot!


 I thought it was an awesome, once in a lifetime experience! It was so great of Miami University's botany department to share the event!


What do you think of this flower? What's a once in a lifetime experience you've had before?

2 comments:

  1. I just think that's so cool that you were able to see such a flower. I've never seen anything like it before! So beautiful.

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  2. That's so wierd, just heard on the news tonight that the very same plant just bloomed in Edmonton in Canada today. They said it smells like rotten meat.

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