Trudy the Titan Arum (Corpse Flower)
We popped up to UC Berkeley Botanical Garden today to see Trudy the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum, for those unafraid of a giant, misshapen phallus). The titan arum is also known as the corpse flower, because when in bloom the stench produced is supposed to smell very much like a decaying body. After their first bloom (which can take 7-10 years to build up to), they then bloom only once every 2-7 or so years, so we felt it was kind of a big deal to get our arses up to UC Berkeley when they finally announced on their Facebook page that Trudy was ready for her public.
So, with all the anticipation, I was ready to be completely amazed by the flower and completely grossed out by the smell, but alas (?), when we got to spend five minutes with Trudy, she had not pulsed any smell out in our direction (or “plantfarted”, as I’ve coined it). I didn’t mind, though, because it was quite the thrill to see such an unusual and rare plant at all. It was so encouraging to see the long lines at the garden to see Trudy, too, and I can’t help but think that a lot of it was down to the power of social media to get the word out. Trudy was so in demand that the Garden was running a shuttle bus to a carpark and back all day, not to mention staying open two hours longer to accommodate all the eager beavers.
In front of us in the long long to the tropical room where Trudy was being admired all day was a lovely father and his two young sons. He spent the entire time explaining absolutely everything to his boys and they hung off his every word. Later I saw them playing some kind of make-believe wizard game on the lawn and I couldn’t help but think what a great parent he was, and what sweet kids. They were all amused at a rather peristent bee that kept landing on the flowers of my handbag and I have to say, the giggling was contagious ;).
After visiting Trudy, we had an entirely pleasant wander around the garden and then visited Cha Ya, our favourite Japanese (vegetarian!) restaurant in Berkeley.