Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Now Whose Dog Died?

I rather pride myself on having a fragrant garden; starting in early spring with Viburnum carlesii, on through hyacinths, lilacs, azaleas, roses, trumpet lilies and orienpets; climaxing in late summer with dozens of Oriental lilies with their musky, heavy perfume which hangs in the thick August air like a sweet cloud.
Then there's this week; the dragon arum just finally decided to follow through with its smell of impending death, and started folding up its tent. Now today I'm walking down the main path and think a large animal has decided to crawl into the garden to expire. Instead I find the voodoo lily, Sauromatum venosum is in bloom. Note to new gardeners: if you decide to plant one of these oddities DON'T plant it right next to your main garden path!

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Comments:
Thanks for the warning!
 
So I've read -- I believe "rotting carcass" is the term I read. :) It's such a unique-looking plant, though.
 
Too bad, and good to know. Must be some protective mechanism.
 
Yuck. What an unpleasant surprise! Are you going to keep it?
--Kate
 
Do I detect a fly? I found a stinkhorn fungus in my garden when I returned home... with a fly happily sitting on it. At least small items don't stink as foully. Will you be moving that fellow? :-)
 
Hi Don, we just got our Voodoo Lily planted last weekend, so I guess it will be a year or so till ours blooms (unless it does put up leaves this year). How would you say it compares in terms of stench with its cousin Dracunculus? Just curious what to expect when it does decide to bloom. We're planning on putting in 2 more Dragon Arums this fall in other spots (yeah, we're freaks for weird plants!), but we also just planted 7 new peonies last weekend (nice plants at bargain prices at Hy-Vee), so that will help counterbalance, hehe.
 
chey - I'd venture a guess that the smell of carrion is to attract pollinators, rather than a defensive mechanism. Many plants are pollinated by flies, beetles, what-have-you. Bees aren't the only ones doing the work.

It appears that there is a fly sitting on the flower in the photo, no doubt attracted to the yummy odor of deliquescence.
 
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