First Corpse Flower to bloom in western Canada

don555(3a)April 23, 2013

Not something you could grow outdoors in this climate or even in a much warmer climate, but in the Tropical Pavillion of the Muttart Conservatory, in Edmonton (zone 3), the "corpse flower" bloomed on April 22. The Muttart staff claims it really stunk first thing in the morning, but by the time I was there in the early-afternoon I would call it more of a mild funky smell, like kitchen garbage that should have been taken out two days ago. And you got used to that pretty quick.

The flower is huge and impressive, kind of alien really. In the early afternoon when my wife and I were there the viewing line-up was 20 minutes. By the evening it was out the door and around the block, ugh.

Some pics...

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Thanks for the pictures. I was going to go but absolutely hate line ups. I know I shud go but that long a line is more than I can do.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 8:45AM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Very prehistoric looking! Thanks Don! I'm with Ingrid on this one; I really can't do line-ups...........pretty awesome bloom tho! :)


    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:40AM
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That's just awesome! They bloom every 40 years or so, right??

Don, it looks leathery. I don't imagine you were allowed to touch it were you?

Fortunate you were there at the right time. 20 minutes isn't too bad. Out the door? I'd never wait that long to see anything, LOL!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:10AM
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runswithscissors(MT 4/5)

Facinating! The top part even looks like a withered face of a corpse too!

Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:06PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Great that you got to see this one's in a live time opportunity.
Great shots!
Nice place to visit, have been there,..plants like this really brings back the crowd which they really need I guess.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 1:44AM
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I'm not sure how they handled the evening crowds, but when we were there in the early afternoon I thought the staff ran things extremely well. I was worried it was going to be a mad crowd all gathered around the flower, but instead they directed us to a line-up in the main part of the conservatory, then they allowed groups of 30 or so people in to see the flower for 10 minutes at a time, before moving us along and allowing in the next group of 30. In a pavillion of that size, that meant that it was not at all crowded around the corpse flower (as you can tell from my pics). As a bonus, where my group of 30 got stopped to wait our turn to enter the pavillion, my wife and I were at the front of the line, right by the guy doing the head-count. He was also an interpreter with a ton of knowledge about the corpse flower, and seemed happy to answer my bazillion questions. He had a pile of photos on his phone to show us of how this flower has developed over the past month or so... fascinating stuff.

Nuts -- someone asked about the texture when we were viewing the flower, and the staff there said that a month ago it felt slippery but she didn't know how it felt now. (sure looks leathery, as you say). I would have loved to stick my head in the flower and take a big whiff, but clearly that was not going to be on the agenda if the staff themselves weren't even allowed to touch the plant!

These plants can actually bloom once every year or two once they have an established flowering-size bulb. They expect this plant to put up a leaf that ends up about 20' tall... I guess how well this leaf makes and stores food will determine when it blooms next. Kind of like growing amaryllis bulbs, but on a massive scale.

To grow this from seed to first bloom (which would presumably be a much smaller bloom than this one) takes about 10 years. At least that's how long it takes the grower in Boston to grow a seed to flowering stage. I don't know if it takes longer in nature, I was going to ask that question, then our turn to see the flower came up...

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 1:51AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

That's cool that you saw it Don! It was on the news here. Your photos are way better than the photos they had on the news.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:32AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

WOW! Don, that is a scary looking thing! LOL! Thanks for the great photos.

I sometimes do drive up to Edmonton - is the Muttart Conservatory worth checking out? 2 years in Alberta now but still have not checked out most of these places yet... sigh!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 2:42AM
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Ostrich -- If you've never been to the Muttart, then yes definitely worth checking out. They have 4 pavillions -- tropical, desert, temperate, and a "show" pavillion (currently spring bulbs, but it changes every couple months).

IMHO, the Muttart is kind of pricy, at $12 per adult. So I don't visit it much anymore, maybe once every few years. When my kid was young I bought an annual pass each year (which paid for itself after something like 3 visits) and we would go almost weekly during winter and spring -- made a great place for a kid to explore during nasty weather outside.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:35AM
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