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firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On
Behalf Of E Morano
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 1:59 AM
To: Discussion of aroids
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] A St. Paul Minnesota blooming
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Charles Gramling <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Como Park readies for corpse flower's pungent bloom This flower by
any other name would still — stink
Article Last Updated: 04/05/2008 12:55:37 AM CDT
Spectators at Como Park's Marjorie McNeely Conservatory on
Friday examine a placard explaining the life cycle of Titus Arum, also known as
the corpse flower or carrion flower. (Jason Hoppin, Pioneer Press)
The smell of death is looming.
A rare corpse flower bloom is anticipated next week at Como Park's
Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. It would be the second in Minnesota history and
one of about 125 recorded worldwide since the flower was discovered in the rainforests
of Indonesia in the 1870s.
The flower is named after the smell it emits, likened to rotting
flesh. Cultivated in a greenhouse at the conservatory since 2005, the flower
has been moved to a public area where it can be seen — and smelled — in all its,
On Friday, visitors to the St. Paul zoo and conservatory were wary
of returning to get a whiff of the smell, which is used to attract pollinating
bees and beetles. Some crinkled their noses when told about the flower's odor.
But one was enthusiastic. Alec Abercrombie, a Shoreview boy
visiting with his mother and little brother, was game.
"Oh, yeah. I would (come back)," Alec said. "It
His mother wasn't so sure.
"If I had to bring him," Kris Abercrombie said.
"But I guess I don't know what rotting flesh smells like."
Gustavus Adolphus College played host to a bloom last year,
Minnesota's first. Como's plants are gifts of the college, and in the rarefied
world of corpse flower aficionados, everyone seems to be watching and waiting
for the Como flower, dubbed "Bob," to do its thing.
Conservatory horticulturist Margaret Yaekel-Twum said she was in
contact with people as far away as Bonn,
Germany, who were following the progress via Webcam.
The blooms are rare, often occurring just once every 15 years or
so. They last for a day or two. The smell persists for about eight hours,
Yaekel-Twum said. And she has smelled one before.
"It did make my stomach turn," she said. "... And I
have a pretty strong stomach."
For much of the plant's life, it grows a single, tall leaf out of
its corm, which is similar to a root ball. On the rare occasion when it flowers
and blooms — in this case expected sometime around Tuesday — its green collar
will fan out and turn a deep purple.
The color, along with the smell and the fact the plants actually
heat up, helps attract critters that normally feed on carrion.
The plants can grow to more than 9 feet high. However, the Como
corpse flower is young and stands about 26 inches. Yaekel-Twum said there is
still no guarantee the plant will bloom, but all signs say it will — the leaves
are already turning a telltale color.
Known as: Corpse flower or carrion flower
Found in: Indigenous only to Sumatra, Indonesia
First U.S. bloom: New York Botanical Garden, 1937
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