Morticia, a giant corpse flower, is a surprise for both the eye and the nose. Visitors coming to see her in full bloom at Moody Gardens will be in awe of her beauty, but the strong stench is what attracts hundreds of guests during the short blooming period.
Morticia has only bloomed twice in its life; the first time was back in 2012. Each time, the plant only keeps her flow for two to four days. According to experts, the flower rarely blooms in Sumatra, Indonesia – its homeland – even rarer in its cultivation.
This is the fifth bloom recorded in the state of Texas. People interested to visit the Moore Gardens have no time to lose; from Thursday to Sunday, the special Corpse Flower Visitation will allow guests from 10 am to 8 pm.
According to horticulture exhibit manager at Moody Gardens, Donita Brannon, Morticia’s bloom was a day later than expected, Saturday, 14 May. It’s probably no surprise that the name of the corpse flower originates from the pungent smell emitted by the plant during flowering.
With a strong smell similar to rotting flesh, the plant attracts its pollinators, sweat flies, and carrion beetles. Fun fact: it has both male and female flowers.
It’s one of the most unpredictable plans, with a random blooming schedule. Experts couldn’t pinpoint an exact bloom season for the corpse flower: its blossom can be produced at any time of year, and the distance between two blooms can range from two to 10 years.
Odoardo Beccari, an Italian plant explorer, was the one to discover the first corpse flower in 1878, but it wasn’t until 1037 that the first bloom was recorded in the United States, at the New York Botanic Garden.
The Amorphophallus titanium is native only to Sumatra, Indonesia. When Beccari discovered it, the plant is said to have struck immense fear into his team due to its tremendous smell and size. They believed the corpse flower could be a man-eating plant; Beccari took only some seeds back to the botanical gardens in Florence, Italy.
Later on, The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London, England, also received some seedlings. When the Corpse Flower first took place at Kew in 1889, newspapers reported that police forces had to be called in so the curious crowds of people did not trample each other.
Image courtesy of Moody Gardens