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A.M. Blooms

October 3, 2011

Click twice for the full freaky.

Approaching the Rancho after my walk Saturday morning, I’m ecstatic to see that a visitor from outer space has landed: my Stapelia gigantea is in bloom! Looking like a huge, 4-cornered, hairy trumpet in yellow with creepy red veining, its center seems to be occupied by a dead fly … it’s not a fly, but flies are a big part of this plant’s sex life. They visit this flower, attracted by the carrion (dead animal) odor it emits, then spread its pollen to others. Sometimes called “Starfish Flower”, my gigantea bloom has two petal-points fused together, which adds to its bizarro appearance … me lying on my back in the driveway to take this photo as the sun peeks over the cemetery completes the picture …

Ta-da!

Brushing myself off, I check on the agave multifilifera I had been tracking through the month of September (click here for post) and find that it, too, has finally bloomed! For weeks I’d been watching the buds on its flower stalk elongate and plump up, but stubbornly refused to open … now, though, pink lined trumpets with long red-and-gold-tipped stamens are basking along the stalk in the early morning sun’s warmth.

I know that neither of these plant’s blooms will last more than a day; it’s been too warm again here. But I feel honored to have seen, and captured, their singular beauty and weirdness.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. Guida Quon permalink
    October 3, 2011 5:01 am

    My starfish plant is blooming here in Santa Ana too! Bur it’s a five star. I’ve propagated many from the one mother plant. This year she was looking pretty weary and I was about to give up on her and then she produced the two largest blooms EVER. A third one coming…Always a thrill. I’ve found if we’re dining outside and the plant is placed about 6-8 feet away, the flies are attracted to the blossom instead of our dinner. (and also far enough away from us so we don’t smell the scent of the flower)

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 3, 2011 5:05 am

      Very interesting, this is the first year I’ve seen blooms on mine, but I kept missing them open… they always shriveled up before I could get to them. I’m both attracted to, and repelled by, this flower, so of course, I love it!

  2. Vickie permalink
    October 3, 2011 5:24 am

    I think that this is why I so enjoy playing with plants.. I really like to watch what they do. And I really seem to be attracted to the stranger sort. Also with these brief flowering types it makes us treaure these plants more.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 3, 2011 5:35 am

      I’m with you, Vickie, I never met a weird plant I didn’t like! Happily, succulents fill that bill …

  3. October 3, 2011 7:18 am

    Gorgeous!! 🙂 **

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 3, 2011 12:03 pm

      Thanks, and welcome!

  4. Matti permalink
    October 3, 2011 3:01 pm

    Nothing like right place / right time. Dig that Stapelia gigantea. Have not seen in preson, but now need to. Need to make a Bingo card for these sweet and rare finds. Matti

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 3, 2011 3:42 pm

      I honestly didn’t think it’d survive out by the driveway but thought if it did it’d like the space … if it thinks at all … and I think it does! You gotta get one!

  5. dave in Toronto permalink
    October 3, 2011 3:25 pm

    Wow, beautiful, but glad I’m not there to smell it. 🙂

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 3, 2011 3:42 pm

      I know parents always say things like this, but it doesn’t really smell bad…

  6. October 4, 2011 12:11 am

    I didn’t know the scientific name of my Stapelia gigantea so thanks for that. It has been blooming for the last month or so. I love it…and it really doesn’t smell much, unless you’re a fly, or are right up close. Here is the link to my FB album of pictures for it.

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1212378995224.2033843.1401247658&l=a226e811cb&type=1

    Link to other garden pix:

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1565731948827.2076863.1401247658&l=edac91a5c3&type=1

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 4, 2011 12:39 am

      Hi! Thanks for the great links … Btw: my gigantea’s oddly odor free too…

  7. Megan permalink
    October 4, 2011 11:16 pm

    Whoa, love the outer space freak of nature!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 5, 2011 1:42 am

      Pretty gnarly, right?!

  8. October 26, 2011 4:34 am

    No Way!

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