Monday, July 26, 2010

Maladora - a Beastly Beauty

Well, glad to be back, I just couldn't find the time to write a post while I was working on a project. I'm eager to catch up.

A few weeks ago one of the Corpse Flowers, Amorphophallus titanum was blooming at UC Berkeley Botanic Garden. I just happened to have a couple of spare hours the day it was in full bloom so I thought I'd go check it out. While the flower is open for a day or two, it emits an aroma that is compared to the smell of rotting flesh, wafting out in waves and drifting far. The Corpse flower's blooms can reach 10' tall and unbelievably the plant wasn't even discovered by Western botanists until 1878 (how did they miss it?). Hailing from Sumatra, these giant arums must be grown in tropical greenhouses around here.

her full gloryspath shadowthe flies commethgetting a good whiff

Before the flower opened, the Bot garden had a naming contest for this bloom and the winning suggestion was Maladora. (Why didn't I think of that!?) Anyway, Maladora was a real beaut. The lovely ruffly cape of velvety red opens to expose the rotten egg-stinky upright spadix. And the odor was quite powerful. It reminded me of a dead body with sugar on top. After being in the greenhouse with Maladora for 10 minutes or so I came out feeling quite nauseous. I feel sorry for the volunteer docents that are in there for long periods answering questions.

gathering a crowd

After checking out Maladora I headed out to investigate a few more freakish plants in the Arid House. Sorry for the lack of names. I was too busy enjoying the crazy shapes and textures to memorize names.

lovely crestlazy cactix-ratedblack spines

I get up to the Bot garden so infrequently, it was nice to wander around and check out what was happening.

Here's a few views around the garden:

herb gardenbridge and cornus kousa
alstroemeria walk
stipa and alstroemeria

view through the arborsalvia canariensis candidissima and athanasia

I love this grass! It looks like a white water river flowing down the hill.
I want this grass!

aeonium gomerenselobelia aberdaricalobelia aberdarica close
aloe comptonii fireworkskaboom!penstemon...i forgot
prickly seatcactus bones


  1. What smelly fun. I grow Amorphophallus konjac which must be related as it has a similar habit, but it lacks that beautiful fluted skirt of Maladora.

  2. I never realized how beautiful it is! When the Huntington's is in in bloom, there's long lines to see it and I never go, but will have to make the trip to see those burgundy pleats. Someone needs to do a ceramic sculpture of that!

  3. Les - I grow A. konjac and it does have great leaves (albeit smaller) and quite a different flower. Although, mine has never bloomed for me. :(

    Denise - They are amazingly gorgeous, whatever stage they are at. I could see Little and Lewis doing a sculpture of it!


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