Here's something you don't see every day. With a few caveats, this is the largest flower in the world. A Corpse Flower, in bloom at Selby Gardens, is a rare sight to see. Soon as I got the email yesterday afternoon (2 emails, 'twas urgent!), I knew I'd have to ride out and see it today. My membership at Selby had expired, so even though I was about tenth in line, I had to renew my membership and was thus about the 30th person to get in and see this sight this morning. And that line never let up, seems like everyone in town wanted to see this beauty.
I won't claim to know a lot about it, but it looked pretty cool. I guess it's not a true flower, but more correctly a flower stem. When it's not blooming, it seems to be a pretty small, undistinguished thing. It stores up energy in an underground tuber, and then almost at random, or at least on a schedule not yet understood by science, some of them drop the leafy part and create one of these flowers.
Way down in the bottom are the real flowers, making pollen and a horrid stench that is meant to attract the flies that it depends on for pollination. I guess when it first opened the previous afternoon, the stench was truly something to behold, but it wasn't too bad when I saw it. Not so bad even as that Star flower I had on my back porch once upon a time.
In case you can't appreciate the scale of the 3-1/2 to 4 foot flower, here's a shot of one of the other visitors with his head hovering over it. It's big!