“Smelly plant, smelly plant, what are they feeding you?”

The inflorescence pictured below smells exactly like road-kill.  Its smell attracts carrion flies and other insects attracted to rotting flesh.  These insects are attracted to the nasty smell, and think they’ve found a great place to lay their eggs.  They crawl all over the flowers and inadvertently pollinate the flowers  This fragrance is currently filling the succulent room in the Tucker greenhouse.  Please drop in and take a whiff!

stinky flower

Carralluma greenbergiana found in the Apocynaceae family

stinky fowers

Huernia zebrina or Life Saver plant is also found in the Apocynaceae family.

Pineapples & Coffee beans grown in Tucker Greenhouse

Pineapple rooting in a jar of water

Pineapple top rooting in a jar of water.

The above ‘pineapple top’ was recently cut from a pineapple grown in the Tucker Greenhouse.  The top was then placed in water and began initiating roots in a matter of days.  Once completely rooted, it will be planted in soil and will  produce a flowering stalk in one and a half to two years.

coffee beans on coffee plant

Un-ripe coffee beans on coffee plant in the tropical room

The Coffea arabica plant above flowered earlier this summer, and has since produced large numbers of green ‘coffee beans’.  When these ‘beans’ ripen, they’ll turn bright red.  I plan to harvest them, roast them, and brew the first ever ‘Tucker Greenhouse, Organic, Shade-grown Coffee’.  If you’d like to see this plant for yourself, go into the Tropical greenhouse and look toward the north corner.

Big Blue Stem is blooming!

Andropogon gerardi, or Big Blue Stem is a member of the Poaceae or Grass family.  It is a native of Missouri and it’s found in prairie regions throughout the United States. It’s a ‘warm season grass’, meaning that it flowers in late summer (right now) and early fall.  Big Blue stem is tall, sometimes two meters or more.  Another common name for Big Blue is Turkey foot. This comes from the fact that the inflorescence resembles the foot of a bird.  Check out the photos below.  All were taken in the Tucker Mini Prairie, next to the Tucker greenhouse.

grass flower

Big blue stem inflorescence

Closer image of inflorescence

Closer image of inflorescence

grass flowers

Close-up of pendulous (male) anthers, and feathery, (female) stigmas