Botanical Wednesday: Maybe it’s a trojan horse

My wife gave me my birthday present a month ago. “It’s not my birthday,” I said. She told me to be patient.

My present was a bucket of dirt. “Gee, thanks,” I said.

“You have to take care of it,” she said. “Oh, great,” I said, “A bucket of dirt and a new chore.”

I did as I was told. It was supposed to do something on my birthday, but my birthday is still more than a week away. And now the bucket of dirt looks like this already.

Is it going to get bigger and more garish by my birthday? Should I be worried that it’s going to eat me? Because that would be a surprise.


  1. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin is certain, certain, she says, that is a semi-domesticated wild Laguiole cheese, or perhaps Kefalotyri cheese, though maybe Ubriaco cheese, or possibly Porto fermenting (probably not a cheese), but in any case, isn’t carnivorous once dead (which is not saying it isn’t then dangerous). She suggests not feeding it any thugs (republicans), as that will cause indigestion and the heat death of the Universe. Better to throw some expendable zebrafishys at it; a simple project for the undergrads (ignore the screams, but do bring a mop as they (students) are messy eaters).

  2. nomdeplume says

    The flowers won’t get bigger (or increase in number) but it will acquire large leaves. A handsome Hippeastrum. It dies down each Winter, then a new flower comes again in Spring. Or perhaps two flowers as the bulbs start to multiply. Great present PZ.

  3. says

    Don’t worry! Keep it close to you (while you sleep, if possible) and by the time your birthday rolls around, you will be Mutual, and One Of Us, and these petty qualms you entertain now will not bother you a bit.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Great present from the Trophy Wife. Thank her for it properly.
    Something that looks like I should at it to the tribute for this summer.

  5. VolcanoMan says

    I was given one of those as a gift about 10 weeks ago (early Christmas gift). I waited in eager anticipation of who knew what kind of flower for about a month (that’s how long it took to get from new leaves poking out of the bulb to the first flower opening), and was pleasantly surprised to see salmon-coloured flowers emerge in mid-January. The plant ended up having two separate flower-stalks, one lagging behind the other by about 10 days – each one produced 4 flowers. All told, at least one flower was open and healthy for a good 25 consecutive days; the Hippeastrum (which was called “Amaryllis” on the packaging of the bulb; not sure why this is so, given that there is already a plant with that name) was a lone bright spot in what has turned out to be an absolutely SHIT new year. Here’s a couple pics I took of the very first flowers to open:

    Incidentally, as you can sort of tell from the first photo, each stalk grew over 50 cm tall before it flowered – PZ’s plant looks quite a bit shorter. And as has been noted, the leaves have barely emerged from his bulb! I figured that different varieties of this plant would differ mainly in the colour of the flower they produced (and that all other aspects would be pretty similar), but it seems I was wrong. Given that both plants took about a month to go from bare bulb to first flower, mine must have grown a lot faster (I monitored its growth: the leaves grew at ~2 cm/day, and the stalks at ~3-4 cm/day for the majority of the month leading up to the first flower opening – the first leaf to sprout reached ~30 cm after 15 days and it was at about this time that it was overtaken by the first stalk, which started sprouting a whole week after the first leaf…this is freakishly fast growth for an indoor plant in northern-winter lighting conditions with no fertilizer). And who knows whether the leaf situation on PZ’s plant is genetic or environmental (or both)? It does appear that his stalks are also producing 4 flowers each though, so that may be one thing all Hippeastra share. Interesting…anyway, PZ’s wife has excellent taste in flowering plants. If you take care of it, these can apparently be coaxed into blooming multiple times.

    I didn’t mean to go on and on about flowers…it just sort of happened. What can I say? Should’ve been a botanist I guess!

  6. kestrel says

    @Volcano Man: nice photos! Very beautiful flowers.

    I have three varieties of this plant: one is called “year-round Amaryllis” because the leaves to not die back. (I don’t know the proper name.) I have a couple that are like the ones PZ has, and I have another one that is scented. Some of these I’ve had for well over 15 years and they do bloom again and again… but you do have to feed them. :-)

  7. jack16 says

    Among the daffodils about my abode there is an amaryllis that comes up like a daffodil without buds. The leaves eventually die back. Then in August up comes stalks with a lovely fragrant bloom! So then I can say that naked ladies are displaying their sex organs around my house!

  8. numerobis says

    I’m not sure about it eating you, but take some care that the cat doesn’t eat it.

    She probably won’t. But if she does, head to the vet. I gather supportive care gives a good prognosis, but untreated it can be fatal.

  9. blf says

    “Environmental teacher Science”? That sounds like an even more rejected B-grade movie villain than, oh, mutant bicycles.

  10. MadHatter says

    Pretty, though it does look hungry! But do beware that your kitty doesn’t chew it. My stupid cat eats any plant/cut flower that comes into the house, doesn’t matter if I explain how likely he is to die from such behavior.