a little east of reality

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

a floral adventure of sorts from my holiday

Day two of the trip home (the last day I was well):

"Hi, Saf. I thought I might spend today with you and the kids."

"Cool. We're planning to go to the botanical gardens. There's a flower there that only blooms once a year and it's blooming now."

"Really? Okay, let's go see it."

Off we set, adventurers without a clue or even a packed lunch. The Adelaide botanical gardens boasts a biosphere: the Bicentennial Conservatory. I use the term 'boasts' loosely, having now been in it to see how truly boring it is. It took us about ten minutes to walk around the entire thing. One cool thing was that it is watered by releasing a fine mist from the ceiling, which had a picturesque effect on the light streaming in through the clear roof. Even so, it became quickly obvious that our petalled prey was not to be found there.

A map and an enquiry later, we made our way to a series of small unimpressive looking glasshouses. The furthest back held our flower, in the middle of a large, still pond. It was a royal water lily. It was then we discovered that the flower was barely open, revealing just a hint of its multi-layered white petals. The royal water lily in fact blooms at night. That's right...after the botanical gardens closes for the evening. Hmmmm...

However anti-climatic the flower itself might have been though, its story was rather interesting. Apparently when the royal water lily opens at night, its scent attracts certain bugs, who fly in to pollinate the flower. The lily then closes on those bugs, trapping them inside. These bugs spend their day in lily prison doin' the pollination thing and then the next night the flower opens again and releases them unharmed. Once the flower is pollinated it slowly turns pink and sinks into the water. Interesting.

Here's a picture of a royal water lily in bloom. Yeah it's my first look at one, too.

Our thirst for adventure really not sated, we were very excited to find a few fun things in the greenhouses next door. The first was the pitcher plant. This plant exudes a sweet nectar scent that most insects find appealing, but once the insect steps over the rim to drink from the plant, it loses its footing on the smooth interior and slides down into a pool of liquid that digests it after it drowns. The children were suitably horrified and delighted by this homicidal plant life, especially after we pointed out that the dark shadow inside the plant was actually the insect bodies currently being digested. ^_^

The next thing we found was less murderous and more risque, but we couldn't stop laughing so I had to take photos. Who knew that there were rudey cacti?

Here we have:

Exhibit A: the prickly penis

Exhibit B: the vicious vagina

and Exhibit C: brutally bristly boobs (I mean good grief, there are even nipples!)

The Adelaide botanical gardens: taking S&M to a whole new level. Now there's a refreshingly new ad slogan for them.