Lois – some now call her Slow-is, thanks to a tweet received earlier this week – continues to progress, albeit not as fast as we had expected. She didn’t grow in height or girth today, but her spathe continued to open. The top 8” or so is mostly pulled away from the spadix, and the front flap is also opening up. Both Zac and I have discerned faint whiffs of an unsavory odor occasionally puffing from her direction. It started out smelling a bit like mildewed laundry. Now it is more like a faint memory of rotten fish. If we get too close, however, she can sometimes bring tears to our eyes…! But then, at other times, no odor is present. This is apparently “normal” as the plant typically sends out wafts of the pollinator-attracting “perfume” in waves.
Zac and Soni and I have been asked dozens of times “When will Lois open?” We really can’t give a precise time. Based on the information we’d received from other locations, we had understood that once the spathe started to pull away from the spadix the spathe would open to its full extent in 4 to 6 hours. But Lois seems determined to be different. It has now been 24 hours. However, as mentioned, she has not remained static but is just not moving as fast as projected.
The color of the inner surface of the spathe is now clearly visible: it is a deep, velvety, almost midnight purple. In looking at examples of other corpse flowers, Lois seems to be on the darkest end of the spectrum. Many others have spathes that are considerably lighter, almost maroon in color, while someone described Lois’s color as “aubergine.” We think she is stunningly beautiful.
|Lois’ spathe, up close! See more of the latest Corpse Flower photos on Flickr.|
Because we are not going to attempt to pollinate the female flowers inside the bottom portion of Lois’ spathe, we think the bloom will remain open for a couple of days. Her smell, according to others with experience with these fantastic plants, should only be truly potent for the first 8-12 hours, and then will lessen considerably. We’re hoping to devise a “stinkometer” so people can indicate how potent they think her odor is when they visit.
All hail the stinky queen!