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 …
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.