Cruel, Merciless Death
My boyfriend and I have been talking about meeting new people locally and picking up new hobbies, outside of the skydiving world- just to try something new and meet different people in the neighborhood. We both really enjoy a good read therefore I suggested looking into joining a local book club. While I was googling book clubs in the area I came across this article about a book club which has been meeting since 1910 and continues to meet on a regular basis. Unfortunately, it’s on an invite-only basis and the members range in age from 50-80 so I wouldn’t exactly fit the bill. The article is interesting nonetheless and maybe, one day, if I stay in the area long enough, I’ll be invited to join this very prestigious book club.
The Titan Arum or “Corpse Flower”
A Titan Arum in bloom is as rare as it is spectacular. A plant can go for many years without flowering, and when it does the bloom lasts only one or two days. Some people travel around the world hoping to see a Titan at the moment it flowers. For botanists and the public, being “in the right place at the right time” to see one of these magnificent plants in bloom can be a once-in-a-lifetime treat.
In the summer of 1999, The Huntington was the focus of world-wide attention when it exhibited the first Amorphophallus titanum ever to bloom in California. It was only the 11th recorded bloom of one of these plants in the United States. During its short bloom, Huntington botanists hand-pollinated the plant with its own pollen, using an experimental technique (self-pollination is normally impossible). The procedure was a success resulting in fruit and 10 fertile seeds from which several seedlings eventually were produced.
A second flowering of the 1999 plant occurred in 2002. The 2009 bloom was an offset of one of the seedlings produced from the successful self-pollination of the 1999 bloom.
The “fragrance” of the titan arum resembles rotting meat, attracting carrion eating beetles and Flesh Flies (family Sarcophagidae) that pollinate it. The inflorescence’s deep red color and texture contribute to the illusion that the spathe is a piece of meat. During bloom, the tip of the spadix is approximately human body temperature, which helps the perfume volatilize; this heat is also believed to assist in the illusion that attracts carcass-eating insects.