Deflowering the Beast

Sometimes mans dominion over nature sounds absolutely terrifying and short-sighted to me. The great hubris that has caused so much destruction is not a sentiment I often tout. This is until we begin discussing the deadly Sago Palm (or cycad, more accurately). Then my inner lumberjack kicks in and I sharpen machetes and gas up chainsaws.

You may recall last year when I posted about the serious level of pruning I do to my beautiful, yet deadly, Sago. If you don’t, take a gander at this surgical operation…

The Sago Palm: Ancient, Beautiful and Actively Trying to Kill Your Family.

Well, it’s beginning to be that time once again. As you can see in the featured image above (from this morning), she is pushing out another giant flower which will be jam packed with massive seeds. They look so much like the king palm nuts that my dog loves to chew on that I am forced to dispatch with these seeds as soon as this flower opens up.

But, at least I’m not alone in this forced dominion, the Chicago Botanic Garden has recently had to force a pollination on their Titan Arum, or corpse flower. You know, that massive flower that smells like a stinking rotten corpse mixed with old baby diapers? Yeah, that one.

All of the botany folks on the Interwebs and countless visitors of the garden have been waiting with anticipation for this flower to open up. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as the titan has refused to open and the botanists had to step in and help it along with a surgical procedure so that they could self-pollinate. Check out the process!


This has helped to bolster my resolve to once again don my hazmat suit and katana in preparation for the painful deflowering of the beast. Wish me luck!

0 Replies to “Deflowering the Beast”

    1. Not a dumb question in the slightest. When the flower opens, the sago palm begins to send new fronds out of the top center. When that happens, I remove to old fronds and meticulously pull out all parts of the flower and seeds. I then remove any pups growing off of the trunk.

      I have to lay down a tarp and keep the dog inside during the whole process so not a single bit can be eaten by my dog. It’s truly a hazmat situation over here.

      Here’s the process…

      It’s the most aggressive gardening I’ve ever done.

  1. That is one menacing-looking flower bud! Good luck! And thanks for the vid of the corpse flower. The petals look like Fortuny pleating and the interior looks like a Latin percussion instrument. What does the inside of your flower look like?

    1. Those yellow-orange tendrils open up like fuzzy fingers to drop their poisonous seeds. The whole thing looks soft and fuzzy but that is a lie. It is deceivingly sharp and brittle. Very hard to remove without drawing blood. I’ll post photos of it as it opens. It take a while to finish.

  2. Good luck with it James, thought the flowers bud looks promising and in my view even beautiful, though I think, remembering your last years work with the same tree, the sooner dealt with the better.

    1. Thanks Agnes! It is that love/fear relationship I ha e with the sago. It bounced back quite well last year so hopefully this year will be the same! I hope you’re well, good to hear from you. 

          1. I agree, here it is the slugs and snail too. Last night while on my slug walk I collected several ones from the newly planted out beets! It is a fight to the last.

          2. Nature has a funny way of teaching us the frailty of our perceived control over it. This season has been an eye-opening lesson for me.

            If you crush eggs shells into tiny pieces and sprinkle them all around your beets, those slugs will not tread their feet over them. Or foot I should say, that’s all they are is one slimy foot. It’s like when we try crossing sand on a hot day barefoot. Impassable. Like razorblades to soft-bodied critters.

          3. I have been doing that James, a good point, only here it is raining so much that the shells then become soft, and loo and behold, the ‘foot’ goes right over them 🙂 There is nothing for it but going out every night and spending an hour or so collecting the little creatures – which I don’t mind too much luckily.

          4. My father used to place a deep dish filled with beer in the garden to draw them in and drown them. I’ve never tried that as I end up drinking all the beer before it becomes effective anyways, but it’s another thought. In the meantime, enjoy your nightly hunts!

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