Sunday, April 24, 2011
Swiss Get Noses Out of Joint
Swiss flock to watch giant stinking flower bloom
Apr 23 2011
Visitors gaze in shock and awe at a blooming Titan Arum (amorphophallus titanum), pictured in the botanical garden of the university of Basel, in Basel, Switzerland, Saturday, April 23, 2011. Thousands of plant lovers have flocked to the northern Swiss city of Basel to see a giant, stinky flower bloom for the first time in 17 years. The Basel Botanical Gardens expects 10,000 people to view its stinking corpse flower, in full glory before the bloom wilts late Saturday or Sunday.
(AP Photo/Keystone, Georgios Kefalas)
GENEVA — Thousands of plant lovers have flocked to the northern Swiss city of Basel, some from as far away as Zimbabwe, to see a giant, stinky flower bloom for the first time. The stench from the foul smelling flower is expected to sicken hundreds who have queasy stomachs. Janitors are prepared with extra mops and buckets of sudsy water to clean up after the barfing visitors.
It was rumored that Prince William and Kate might pop over for a quick throw-up but this could not be confirmed by the British government, the royal family or Scotland Yard.
The Basel Botanical Gardens expects 10,000 other people to see its amorphophallus titanum, or corpse flower, in full glory before the bloom wilts late Saturday or Sunday. The plant is 17 years old and has never bloomed before.
Visitors haven't been deterred by the strong stench of rotting flesh the flower emits to attract insects for pollination. Wearing face masks and flowery smelling handkerchiefs, the visitors braved the foul odor for a glimpse of the foul flower.
The 6.6-feet (2-meter) tall flower is native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the last one to bloom in Switzerland was 75 years ago.
Worldwide, there have been only 134 recorded blooms from artificial cultivation.
It is widely believed, (well, by a dozen or so people) that secret, cult bloomings are held for which stench fanciers pay 1,000s of termite free rupees to get their fill of the hideous odor. Idi Amin, Cjharles Taylor and Charles Manson have been reported as attending these clandestine smell-offs.
The Sumatran government has attempted to shut down these stink shows, as they are called, for no good reason. When pressed for an explanation a highly placed Sumatran public official who was unauthorized to speak, said, "Just because." She was later executed.