Someone asked me if I would be getting rid of my Stapelia since it has now bloomed, and I finally got to smell the flower to prove to myself that it really does smell like dead, rotting meat.
Oh, gosh, no. I am not getting rid of the Stapelia. It’s a passalong plant. You can’t just march into the plant section of your local big box store and find one of these for sale. You’ve got to find someone who has one, drop a few hints about how interesting and fun it must be to grow, and then maybe they’ll give you a start from theirs.
Plus, Stapelia is included in the newly published book, Bizarre Botanicals by Larry Mellichamp and Paula Gross (Timber Press $24.95).
Want to know how many other plants I have that are in Bizarre Botanicals?
Well, I think my cactus is included, or at least it is pretty close to what they call a Tarantula Cactus, Cleistocactus winteri.
I’ve had this cactus for years. It just keeps growing, and growing, and growing. Each section coming up out of the pot does look like a gigantic tarantula leg.
The authors also mention voodoo lily, Amorphophallus bulbifer, in Bizarre Botanicals, which I do NOT have, but I have heard of it. Like the Stapelia, it is also supposed to smell like rotting meat when it blooms. Since I don’t have one, I can’t vouch for this myself but my aunt said my great grandfather had one and he had to plant it out back behind the barn because it did smell bad when it bloomed. (One wonders if I inherited this penchant for growing oddly smelling flowers?)
Fortunately, Bizarre Botanicals includes information on other plants that don’t remind you of dead meat or huge spiders. The authors included interesting looking flowers like passionflower, gloriosa lily, and cockscomb, to name a few.
Browsing through this book, I was impressed with the diversity of plants chosen and some of the bizarre features of them, be it the flowers, thorns, leaves or the excellent impressions of animals that some plants do.
The authors encourage us all to try growing one or many of these bizarre botanicals by providing cultural information for each plant, including a difficulty rating of 1 – 3. The Stapelia is a 2, by the way.
Through a fortunate-for-you mix up, I received two review copies of Bizarre Botanicals by Larry Mellichamp and Paula Gross, so I’m giving one away to a lucky winner. To enter, just leave a comment by Monday, October 25, 2010, 9:00 pm EDT telling me about an interesting or bizarre plant that you are growing or would like to grow. I’ll choose one lucky winner by random drawing.
(Details: Enter by Monday, October 25, 2010, 9:00 pm EDT. Winner will be chosen by random drawing. US residents only, 18 and over. Make sure your comment will either lead me to your blog where I can easily find your email address to notify you if you are the winner, or leave your address in the comments, disguising it of course, along the lines of email AT gmail Dot com.)
(Update, Monday, October 25 – The lucky winner is “Sarah”, the ninth commenter on this post. Congrats, Sarah. I just sent you an email to let you know.)