Sunday, September 04, 2005

Pop Goes The Flower

Well, I come home from lunch today, look out on the porch, and my bud is bigger than ever. And it looks a little lopsided. Could it be that it's finally reached it's maximum size and is going to burst? A close look at the shot above shows you what I saw. The tip has split into a couple of pieces. Tipping the bud up, you can see down into it now because one seam has opened up completely.

I took the picture above, then came into the house to look at what I had shot. Five minutes later I look back out on the porch, and I see the view below. Now three of the seams have burst, releasing two of the petals completely.

As I'm sitting there shooting the two-petal stage, I hear a small 'pop' and the third petal comes free. In fact, a close look at the above picture shows that the seam was already starting to split. The shot below shows three free petals, and only one seam left to split.

I go away for another five minutes, and sure enough, the final seam splits, leaving an open flower with five giant petals.

The final result? Here you have it. The pot you see the flower resting on is 8" across. Point to point on this flower is almost a foot across! And the best part? It smells really, really bad! I mean bad! Imagine rotting meat. Imagine rotting meat that's a week old. Imagine that meat has been soaking in stale urine for that week. You're getting close, but now double it. That's about the smell coming out of this flower. I believe it's called a carrion flower due to it's overpowering smell. Instead of attracting bees with a sweet smell like other flowers, this flower emits a stench to attract flies for pollination. And it may well ward off a predator or two. Wait, this particular species is called a Starfish Plant (Stapelia gigantea). Notice the thin hairs on the edges of the flower below. Supposedly, flies mistake those hairs for mold, thus encouraging them to come visit the flower and cover themselves with pollen. Did I mention it stinks really bad?

1 comment:

Stephen said...

It's been fun to watch your flower over the last few days, Ernie. Thanks for sharing.