Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween at Phipps Conservatory

On Halloween weekend, Phipps Conservatory will be displaying its spooky plants, including the newly acquired corpse flower plant--a rare giant native to the rain forests of Sumatra.

Phipps purchased a 21-pound corpse flower bulb for a thousand dollars, and it has produced an 8-foot leaf. Assistant Curator Ben Dunigan says the bulb probably won't produce a flower until it's about 30 pounds in a couple of years. The bloom will smell like rotting flesh because flies, not bees, are corpse flower pollinators.

The plant will produce a single deep purple flower about six feet high and six feet wide, according to Dunigan--not a likely boutonniere. The corpse flower is related to the calla lily, jack-in-the-pulpit, and skunk cabbage.

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