Amorphophallus titanium now Blooming in Tsukuba! Do Not Miss the Very Rare Chance ot SEEING and SMELLING this Immense Flower! ( blooms for 3 days only!)
By Avi Landau
I try to visit the Botanical Garden in Tsukuba at least twice a month. There I can conveniently keep up with the continuous succession of bloomings, fruit bearings and witherings of Japanese plants- some unusual- but mostly the mundane.
There are times, however, when the regional media descends upon the garden for an extra special blossoming. Today, June 27, 2018, was such a day. A specimen of the giant Amorphophallus titanus (the tallest flower in the world) – which if I have not forgotten my Latin means SHAPELESS PHALLUS OF STEEL !- is just about to open and should burst into bloom tonight- after the garden has closed- releasing its unusually odorous perfume (which has evolved to attract insects).
But since the Japanese are, generally speaking, a great plant and flower loving people, you can expect rock-star-appearance type crowds from tomorrow- so if you would like to see- and smell this amazing flower, you had better get there early- OR TAKE THE DAY OFF!
Even today there was a hum of excitement as throngs of people- of all ages- had gathered, anticipating the GRAND OPENING.
The Japanese name for this rare tropical plant is SHOKUDAI O-KONYAKU. It is a type of tuber plant, and according to the explanation signboard posted by staff this flowers “potato” weighs more than 70 kg!
And because there is a popular food in Japan called KONNYAKU (also made from a tuber), you can hear Japanese visitors murmuring the same question you often hear ringing out at aquariums in Japan: “Can you eat it?”
The gardens one year pass is one of the great bargains in Japan. For a mere 1,000 Yen you can spend the whole day there everyday of the year- except Mondays- for FREE. The price of a single adult admission without the pass, however, is 300 Yen.
The Tsukuba Botanical Garden is usually open from 9:30 to 4:00 ( closed on Mondays) BUT WILL STAY OPEN UNTIL 6:30 for the next couple of days (till the 29th).
Here is a link to its English language web-site: