Toad in the Hole

June 23, 2005

My stapelia is blooming. This is one of those ambivalent occasions.

I got the thing in the mail from South Dakota, as a thank-you gift for a relatively small favor. It's grown happily on the office windowsill for a few years, and I've given starts from it to friends. I warned them what they were in for.

First it extended a V-fingers salute.

The next day, ever so slowly, it popped out another petal, then another.

Then it was all the way open and issuing forth its characteristic come-hither fragrance. As it is pollinated by flies, that fragrance is approximately of old garbage, rottiing meat. It's not nearly so strong as the infamous titan arum's, but it does get my attention now and then.

The flies do show up, and often walk around on those hairy petals buzzing indignantly: "Where's the beef?"

I noticed last night that the flower had dropped some bits of whitish matter, I assumed from its stamens or pistil. They were longer than wide, maybe a sixteenth of an inch. Just now I noticed some of them have dropped to the desk. And they're moving.

Uh-oh.

Maybe I'll take them outside and feed them to Joe's carnivorous plants.

Posted at June 23, 2005 09:05 PM

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