Apparently the corpse flower only blooms once every 75 years and then only
for a few days.

There's a webcam on one at the University of Connecticut. Apparently its
blooming is imminent!


Here's the article from the webpage:

> STORRS, Conn. ‹ Within the next few weeks, New Englanders will have the
> opportunity to see and smell one of the strangest productions of the vegetable
> kingdom: the titan arum, or corpse flower, which features a gigantic bloom ‹
> and a mighty stench -- is expected to open sometime near the end of June, at
> the University of Connecticut's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
> Conservatory. Live Webcam
> The last time a corpse flower opened in the northeast was in the 1930s, at the
> New York Botanical Garden. Fewer than two-dozen have flowered in the United
> States since the titan arum bloomed for the first time in cultivation, at the
> Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, in 1889.
> Currently, the UConn-based flower bud is more than three feet high and growing
> by several inches each day. Clint Morse, plant growth facilities manager and
> the researcher who obtained and planted the titan arum, is estimating the
> plant will flower between June 28 and July 2. He emphasizes, however, that
> those dates only represent his best guess.
> The fully open flower lasts only a few days, so visitors hoping to catch it at
> its peak will have to time their visit carefully. The infamous odor of the
> corpse flower is strongest just as the flower opens, becoming faint, for
> better or worse, after the first day. Already, gardeners, botanists and
> curiosity-seekers from across the northeast and beyond are making plans to
> travel to Storrs to experience the horticultural equivalent of twin NCAA
> basketball championships.
> The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) is a native of the sultry equatorial
> rainforests of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where it is known as bunga
> bangkai, the corpse flower. Plants grow from a potato-like underground tuber,
> which produces umbrella-shaped leaves 10 feet high and 15 feet across. Only a
> single leaf is present at any one time, but it is dissected into many smaller
> leaflets. The whole looks something like a palm tree with a spotted green
> trunk, and is rather attractive. A leaf can last for several years before it
> withers and is replaced, all the time quietly capturing sunlight and storing
> food in the tuber. Eventually, after the tuber has grown to weigh as much as
> an average man, the corpse flower decides to bloom. The bud on the UConn plant
> could grow to more than six-feet-tall before it opens.
> Corpse flowers bloom directly from their tubers, in between cycles of leaf
> production (like an amaryllis). Flowers are about 6 feet high and 3 feet
> across, shaped like an urn, with a tall spike rising from the center.
> (Technically, this is a composite of many small flowers, but it looks like one
> gigantic flower.) They are similar in shape to the flowers of local woodland
> plants like jack-in-the-pulpit and skunk cabbage, or to calla lilies, all of
> which are distant relatives.
> The corpse flower is specifically adapted to attract carrion flies and
> beetles, which ferry pollen between plants so they can produce seed, a job
> accomplished for more ordinary plants by bees or butterflies. The colors of
> the corpse flower ‹ a sickly yellow and blackish purple -- imitate a pot roast
> that sat out in the sun for a week. The fragrance is universally described as
> being powerful and revolting, with elements of old socks, dead fish and rotten
> vegetables. As if that isn't weird enough, the corpse flower is actually
> warm-blooded, heating itself up at the height of flowering, probably to help
> spread its putrid odor. All of this is totally irresistible to flies, who must
> think they've chanced upon a dead elephant, and are tricked into pollinating
> the plant.
> The corpse flower is uncommon and difficult to locate in the wilds of Sumatra,
> and very rare in cultivation. Recent greenhouse flowerings in California,
> Washington, D.C., and London have attracted coverage from the international
> media, and thousands of visitors who braved longlines and foul odors for a
> glimpse of this botanical marvel. The UConn bloom will be the first ever in
> New England, and the only one anywhere in the northeast since the New York
> Botanical Gardens had a specimen in the 1930s. That earlier flowering inspired
> the designation of Amorphophallus titanum as the official flower of the Bronx,
> a title that was maintained until quite recently, when a more innocuous form
> of vegetation was chosen to replace it.
> The Connecticut corpse flower was started 10 years ago, from a seed the size
> of a lima bean, donated to UConn by botanical explorer James Symon. Since
> then, the plant has been nurtured in an environment of bright light, high
> humidity, and constant warmth. It also receives plenty of food, in the form of
> plain houseplant fertilizer. It is not carnivorous, as some people suppose.
> Only now, after growing a tuber that is splitting the sides of a pot bigger
> than a garbage can, has the plant stored enough resources to bloom. Readers
> may check the progress of the flower bud in person at the Department of
> Ecology and Evolutionary Biology's Conservatory, located behind the Torrey
> Life Sciences Building on North Eagleville Road, or on the web at:
> http://florawww.eeb.uconn.edu/Titanum/Titanum2004.html
> It tends to be warm in the greenhouse, so bring water and light clothing.
> Admission is free.
> About the University of Connecticut Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
> Conservatory
> The UConn EEB Conservatory is the finest collection of exotic plants under
> glass between New York and Montreal, with outstanding displays of orchids,
> cacti and succulents, carnivorous plants, tropical ferns, and many other
> groups. The collections are used for classes, public outreach, and research
> into plant biology and conservation.
> The Conservatory is open to the public from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. While the
> corpse flower is open, the Conservatory will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., daily
> and on weekends. [Update]


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In a message dated 7/6/04 5:22:43 AM, fetteroll@... writes:

<< http://florawww.eeb.uconn.edu/Titanum/Titanum2004.html >>

I had read about those before.

Web cams are pretty wonderful. Weird, but wonderful. <g>

In some towns in Germany and northern Italy (maybe all over there) they have
some public ones and people tell their friends and relatives what time they'll
be there to wave hi from that location.