Monday, April 22, 2013

I Saw the Corpse Flower (World's Tallest and Smelly Flower) at Edmonton's Muttart

Wow. I've seen the Tokyo Skytree, the world's tallest free standing tower this year, and now the world's tallest flower.
Muttart Conservatory Pyramid

This flower is a carrion flower called Amorphophallus titanum that grows in Sumatra, Indonesia.  The plant I saw at the Muttart Conservatory on April 22, 2013 had to be seven or eight feet tall (over 2 metres) and it flowers for a couple of days before dying back to a bulb (a big bulb).  The people at the conservatory also said the plant really stinks, especially when it had just opened up.  The smell is like old rotting garbage on a hot summer day or dirty diapers.  When I went I didn't get to experience the full 4D effect of fantastic smellovision - that is good I think, but some people were saying they caught a wiff. Some of the specimens of this flower have been measured at over 10 feet in height or 3 metres too!  The plant is rare and there are only like 5 flowerings at different gardens around the world each year.
The Giant Carrion Plant
It's pretty tall
Closeup of the petals.
This plant was pretty cool to look at and the petals at the base actually reminded me of a big cabbage.  The life cycle of this plant is pretty interesting too as it grows from a bulb that puts up a totally different stem that looks like a little tree.  This stem comes up each year and dies off, then comes back the next year.  It happens again and again over many years with the bulb storing more energy until it decides to put up a flower.  The stench is supposed to attract carrion beetles to pollinate the plant.


It was actually pretty nice to go to the conservatory as spring has been pretty late here in Canada this year.  The greenery was really nice.  Also, included below are pictures of a Japanese Persimmon tree, followed by some photos of one of the worlds oldest surviving species of trees, the Dawn Redwood or Metasequoia glyptostroboides (gotta love the name).

Persimmon
Persimmon
 Dawn Redwood fossils date back to the age of the dinosaurs over 65 million years ago.  It has leafy needles and drops them in the fall too kind of like a larch. 
Redwood
Redwood needles
We thought it was pretty crowded when we got there as it took 45 minutes to get in after another 15 minute wait to buy tickets.  When we left at 8 PM there had to be a lineup a block long out there with hundreds of people waiting. 

You can view my trip to the Tokyo Skytree here.

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