You have to love the Internet. Fifteen years ago, most people had never heard of the famed corpse flower Amorphophallus titanum, and advance notice on one blooming in captivity usually arrived after the bloom had shriveled and collapsed. Now, the biggest surprise is how many A. titanum specimens are in captivity in the United States alone. I somehow have this image of corpse flower groupies, traveling the country in old Volkswagen Microbuses like Grateful Dead fans, somehow scraping together enough money to make it to the next blooming before it’s gone.
Anyway, the latest news on A. titanum doesn’t involve a bloom, but rather a companion. The Houston Museum of Natural Science just saw its corpse flower “Lois” bloom, and the Museum just received a donation of a new plant, just starting to sprout. Apparently the new plant needs a name, so the Museum opened up a naming competion. The prize for the winning entry is the usual “bragging rights,” as well as a museum membership and a private tour with the Museum’s horticulturalists.
My only disappointment so far is that some of the suggested names are good and dark, but not good and dark enough. C’mon: “Morticia” and “Wednesday” are okay, but we’re talking about a beast with the common name “corpse flower”. What’s wrong with “Bub”?