Central Iowa has been on pins and needles the last couple of weeks waiting for a special event at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden--the blooming of the Titan Arum. it is a rare plant, the only one in Iowa and it only blooms once every four or five years--then it only stays in blossom for less than one day. It happened today, July 25, 2017. I hope you were there for this special occasion, but if you missed it don't worry--I was there and I will share my findings with you.
There was a long line at the Botanical Garden today, but it was a good way to occupy my street and make new friends. I knew it was worth the wait when I got my first peek at this beautiful flower (right). This rare plant grows in the wild in Sumatra and Indonesia. I thought it interesting that this giant tropical plant is actually a relative to our native Iowa Jack-in-the-pulpit. That's why it looked a little familiar to me--I used to find "Jacks" when I was a young boy roaming the woods and timberlands in the hill country of Western Iowa.
The Titan Arum in full bloom. I like the picture on the right because I think it complements the beautiful garden spade sculpture that is a permanent fixture at the garden.
"IT STINKS!" That seems to be the characteristic of this beautiful blooming plant that has made such a good news story in recent weeks. When the Titus Arum blooms it emits an odor similar to rotting flesh--thus the nickname--the corpse flower. I didn't think the odor was all that offensive, but I grew up on the farm during the 30's and 40's and stinking dead animals were just a part of life. Why would a beautiful flowering plant smell so bad? I think God had that figured out from the beginning of creation. When the plant blooms it emits this unique odor that may be offensive to us, but is a real delight for certain insects, such as flies and beetles, as they stop by for dinner. As a result, they transfer the pollen from one flower to the next, resulting in a new plant. We humans expect flowers to be beautiful and smell really great. I think this unusual plant got so much hype--not because it is so rare and beautiful, but because it smells so bad--NOW THAT STINKS!!!
A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass, and their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." (NIV) (Isaiah 40:6-8).