A Titanic Ruby Thursday Posted on April 17th, 2008 by

Walking toward the greenhouse door this morning down a hallway redolent of dead mice, I suspected that great things were to come. My entry into the greenhouse was greeted by a glorious wave of abominable stench. Inside at the time were Emily (our greenhouse manager), a guest, and Ruby, all three in a state of apparent bliss. (Note: if you’re impacted in a negative way by my preceding description, just consider it to be a draft of a potential entry for the Bulwer-Lytton contest.)

Ruby is our largest plant of Amorphophallus konjac, a generous donation from a visitor to the Perry event last May. The Amorphpohallus Formerly Known as Cousin Konjac has been christened “Ruby” by the students on the greenhouse staff, due to Ruby’s lovely color, and also to provide a feminine name for one of our Amorphophallus plants as a complement to Perry’s name.

Ruby’s inflorescence opened fully today! The overpowering fragrance had components of decaying animal carcasses (especially mice…), feces, urine, barnyard (a subset of the previous two), fish, decaying fish, and a number of other striking but less-easily-defined notes. The inflorescence is large (see the photos that follow) and has the otherworldly beauty of all Amorphophallus inflorescences. If you have a chance, please come to see it soon. Photographs, or even looking at it through the greenhouse window, are in no way sufficient substitutes for a personal, close-up encounter.

Then…there’s Perry to consider. Perry’s petiole grew 10 centimeters over a 24-hour period from yesterday to today; that doesn’t count the upper parts of the leaf, which are also growing. We’re in a current state of awe, and perhaps shock will follow. We plan to begin to feed Perry more on Friday – a mixture of composted manure and peat. A thick tangle of roots at the surface of the potting mix awaits receipt of this manna from Emily.

We had visitors today – in addition to the clusters of watchers that are now forming regularly at the greenhouse window, Philip and his mother and two younger brothers visited late this afternoon. The timing coincided nicely so as to have Nick and Brandy present, as well. We doubtless had, for a short time, the highest concentration of Amorphophiles anywhere in the world (or at least in southern Minnesota…). The other Emily was there earlier, and Alex was there in spirit, adding to the re-creation on a smaller scale of the Perry event.

Click on the thumbnails below for full versions of the photographs. Click here for the Ruby/Perry webcam.

p4170032-cr-4x6-200.jpg p4170026-cr-m-nick-leaf-aloft-4x6-200.jpg p4170031-philip-brian-ruby-perry-4x6-200.jpg p4160016-emily-p-ruby-4x6-200.jpg p4170030-philip-nick-ruby-perry-4x6-200.jpg p4170023-cr-ruby-perry-inflorescence-4x6-200.jpgp4170024-cr-ruby-perry-infl-perry-leaf-4x6-200.jpg



  1. […] the most recent prior leaf to this one via the photo below (thanks to Nick Murray and Max Leither for acting as scale objects) – the current highly efficient solar antenna is […]

  2. […] [Update, August 2,2010 (rather late…sorry) – Cousin Konjac has long since been renamed Ruby.] […]

  3. […] is the foodstuff prepared from the corm of Amorphophallus konjac (the species of which our dear Ruby is a member).  Click on the thumbnails for images of the products and also of the planter of […]