Monday, May 27, 2024

smell something?

Happy Memorial Day, to honor fallen servicemen and women - not to mention the unofficial kick-off to summer - to the Americans.

On Saturday, Magnum and I took a bike ride and stopped by the university to see Cosmo the Corpse flower. We rolled right up to a small inconspicuous building, racked the bikes, and walked on in amid the anticipation of the big smelly bloom.

It was a lovely setting, this little white building in the middle of campus. I've probably bicycled passed it many times, not knowing of the treasures inside.

We were there around noonish, and while Cosmo was clearly up to something, no bloom to be seen nor smelt.  As it happened, it bloomed full out later that evening, becoming most putrid around 10:30pm


I got this screen grab from the livestream in case we find ourselves in need of an alibi.

The building was a smallish tropical residence for Cosmo and his roommates. There was a banana tree - I'd never seen one before - as well as a pomogranate bush? Tree? Not sure, but there were pomogranates growing from it. And lots of other cool plants certainly not native to Colorado.

This is Bruno the slider turtle, hanging out in the Koi pond, probably wondering what all the hubbub was about.

So we enjoyed the tour of the little place, geeking out a bit on all of the science going on. Among other things, there was a "proton-transfer-reaction chemical ionization mass spectrometer (PTR-MS)" set up to detect and analyze the awful smells about to emerge.

As expected, the little building was descended upon yesterday by the masses who'd been following Cosmo's progress. We rode by and the line wrapped around a corner with no end in sight. Observers were told to bring water and snacks and sunscreen as the wait would be a long one. We kept on a-ridin'.

Cosmo's bloom is already flopping away as seen in the continuing [livestream], and the plant will soon whither and go dormant in the fall. 

See ya, Cosmo. Another 8 years?


Linda Sue said...

When Erik was little for good night reading I read Raptor Red to him. I was a pretty good book but became too sad when the Raptors met with bullys. Anyway, Flowers in Red's world were like this one - Can you imagine a forest full of dead flesh rotting in the moist air. No thank you, time machine!
Great you got to see it before it burst open. Saved yourself on that one!

Abby said...

Linda Sue, I looked up Raptor Red as I'd never heard of it. Life from the POV of prehistoric predators!
I wonder about these "captive" plants. Pollination not likely, but bloom anyway and become a celebrity!

Allstarme79 said...

Ha, that's cool you went to see that. I'd heard of it but definitely never seen it!

Abby said...

Allstarme79, it was a fun and different thing to do. Reports from those who actually visited after it opened range from "not much" to "fresh roadkill" to "I almost got sick".🤔

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I've never seen one and although putrid as you say, I'd like to smell it so I am aware. Then again, maybe not.

Abby said...

Peggy, I would've liked to get a whiff, but I wasn't going to stand in that line. I'm curious as to how it would have smelled to Rick!

Jeanette said...

I remember when the corpse flower boomed at a botanical garden around here. There were massive crowds every day so we didn't get a chance to go. It's an interesting looking flower for sure!

Abby said...

Jeanette, I feel lucky that we were able to just walk right in just a few hours pre-bloom. The long lines continued into Monday, well past peak putridity.

Chatty Crone said...

Well, you learn something new every day. I had never heard about this. Very interesting though.

Abby said...

Chatty, I took some horticulture courses through the university's extension a couple of years ago. Very interesting, and served to reveal how much I don't know!