Devil’s Tongue Flower Blooms in Greenhouse

devils-tongueAfter eight years on campus, a unique flower in the University Greenhouse bloomed for the first time.

The Devil’s Tongue flower bloomed in the middle of July and reached the peak of its bloom at an estimated size of two feet in height and six inches in diameter. It shares the same genus as the Corpse Flower that bloomed in 2013 at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.

This plant is one of two Devil’s Tongue flowers located in the University Greenhouse, but was the first one to bloom. Tony Wilmes, a biology lab technician, said these particular flowers take a long time to mature, and only bloom about once every 10 years. Whereas most flowers release a sweet smell to attract bees and other insects for the purpose of pollination, the Devil’s Tongue uses flies to pollinate, and therefore smells similar to a dead animal.

While a small section of the Greenhouse is allocated for research, a majority of the facility is used for teaching purposes.

Aside from the pungent Devil’s Tongue, the Greenhouse is home to more traditional flowers. It also contains some banana trees and several pitcher plants, which are carnivorous plants that trap and digest insects. The University Greenhouse is typically available for public viewing between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the week. Visits can also be arranged through the Biology Department Office located in Magruder Hall 2004, or by calling (660) 785-4597.

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