Corpse Flower at El Capitan Beach

There is a patch of these bizarre looking flowers growing on the point at El Capitan State Beach. They caught my eye once as I was walking by and, recognizing the bloom, I walked over to take a whiff. It reeked like a dead animal. Bingo. The corpse flower. It’s apparently some sort of Amorphophallus.

The plants grow about knee high, the flowers themselves about a foot long. And although the first time I sniffed one awhile back it had a strong odor of death, the last time I checked, the flower I smelled had no scent.

I wonder how the plant got there. When I used to live up in the canyon there was an old cabin that stood on El Capitan point against the hill just below the creek. Perhaps a ranger or somebody planted them many years ago just in front of the beachfront quarters.

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2 Responses to Corpse Flower at El Capitan Beach

  1. kw says:

    Interesting – I’d love to see this – wondering if you’ve seen them subsequently? Seems this would be about right time of year TIA

    • Jack Elliott says:

      I’ve seen it a few times over the years. Not sure about this year, though. And I’m not sure about the bloom cycle of this particular strain.

      This flower at El Capitan is (or was) located down the beach from the creek mouth, shortly before where the flat of the point ends under the looming cliffs. Sort of where the trail/path/old road meets the beach on the south end of the point.

      You’re probably aware, but the corpse flower at UCSB is in bloom right now. It has yet to open, but is expected to do so within the next few days. I’m headed out there to take a look this morning. I saw it bloom in 2002 and it was a pretty interesting sight, and smell. . .

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