What stinks like rotting flesh? October 31 2011

Corpse Flower at the Huntington Library
Remember those old movies where they showed a giant flower the size of an adult that eats people? Those are not completely false. It’s actually a combination of the two types of plants — Carnivorous plants, and Corpse flower. Carnivorous plants get their nutrients from digesting flies and insects, while Corpse flower (aka Stinking flower) uses their odor to attract insects to pollinate since the flower itself cannot pollinate itself.

Corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) naturally grow in the rain-forests of Sumatra, Indonesia. The plant does not flower often, especially when it’s cultivated in a green house. It takes about 10 years to flower! Each plant has only one flower that can reach the height of 8-10 ft, and the scent is much like a rotting body. Can you imagine how strong this odor would be for a 10 ft tall flower!?

A couple years ago, I was fortunate enough to witness this flower in a place close to home, Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. Like all the odd plant lovers, I kept my eye close to the Huntington Library website to see the updates of the growth of this flower. Each day it grew a few inches to half a foot!


Stinky Plant

The first time I went to see it the flower hasn’t opened so I checked for updates on the website, and it said that it bloomed! I went there the second time, of course, hoping that I can see it in bloom since the bloom only last for about a day, or two. It was sort of unfortunate that the flower wasn’t fully open when I got there. I did managed to take some photos, and it was really awesome seeing a flower that’s taller than my tallest friend who’s 6′ 4″!


Nepenthes Rajah

Sure, the movies may exaggerate a tad about these flowers eating people, but it’s not entirely impossible. I did a little research for information about these plants eating mammals the size of humans, and found that one of the largest Carnivorous plant, Nepenthes Rajah, can swallow a frog, or any small mammals and reptiles! So in future if no human does any destructions to the rain-forests, we might find a giant Nepenthes Rajah with a human inside!


Hahaaaa…(or not…) Happy HalloweEeeEeeeeN!