Monday, October 18, 2010

Stapelia bloom opened

The event began Saturday morning.

I had been waiting for a week or more, not knowing how long the bud would stay so large before opening.  We had a little scare on Wednesday when Norman was shaken by an earthquake - a real one.  The US Geological Survey is declaring it a 4.3, after initially saying 4.5.  The Oklahoma Geological Survey is saying it was a 5.1.  Regardless, it was felt by everyone in town and as far away as the Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area, the Tulsa metro area and southern Kansas.  That's a pretty good distance - 3 states in all.

My Stapelia was on the front porch at the time and pretty top heavy.  It tipped over and the biggest bud tore just a little bit.  I was worried that it wasn't opening because of the tear, but on Friday night I noticed that 2 of the "seams" of the bud were beginning to part.

Stapelia gigantea bloom (click image for larger)
When I went to check on my Ficus seed trays Saturday a little before lunch time I noticed my Stapelia had finally opened.  You can see the tear in one of the petals above.

Stapelia gigantea detail (click image for larger)
The stink of the bloom is not very far-reaching.  You really have to get your nose up in it, but it smells just like a dead animal when you do.  We spent this weekend tiling our kitchen and when we went out to lunch we left the back door open with fans running.  When we got home I checked on my Stapelia again (of course) and found the largest housefly I've ever seen sitting on the bloom.  It almost looked like someone had gotten one of those fake plastic flies and stuck it on there just to give me a hard time.  I grabbed for my camera and the fly flew away!

Stapelia gigantea hairs (click image for larger)
This Stapelia bloom is so interesting.  It's close to a foot in diameter.  (I didn't measure, but I really should do that tonight.)  It has long pubescens (hairs) all over the inside of the flower, which you can see pretty well in the photo above.  And it is striped with these red/brown lines which are more concentrated towards the center of the flower.

I put the plant on our dining table and laid the flower flat in order to take some closeup pictures.  As I moved the plant around, I noticed the petals of the flower would catch on the table and fold up a little bit, making the bloom look even more like the starfish that so many people have compared it with.  It truly looked like it was walking along the table.  It's actually worth videoing - another thing to do this evening!

Yesterday (Sunday), the petals had already curved back behind the center of the bloom.  I don't know how long the bloom will last, but I'm hoping for about a week, so that I can get all my friends to come over and see it before it perishes.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos! It is definitely a sight to behold! We were glad we could see it. If I have any flies I will bring them by to "model" for you. :-)