I visited that rare blooming corpse flower at the abandoned gas station in Alameda, California

The Alameda corpse flower is trending and I actually got to see it on the day it bloomed!

On Monday morning, my pal Jone Stebbins posted this to her Facebook friends, accompanied by photos, "Omg!! The Corpse Flower is blooming! Some generous plant nerds are camped out at the little old gas station across from city hall with their Corpse Plant! It only blooms only for one day… and it smells like death! Hurry!! Go see it!!"

Don't have to tell me twice! I live and work-from-home in the island city of Alameda, California and this old gas station is maybe five minutes away. My daughter and I wasted no time driving over to experience the fleeting bloom and putrid stench of the Amorphophallus titanum, commonly known as the corpse flower. It did not disappoint and soon my feeds were filled with photos of the plant taken by local friends who also made the pilgrimage to marvel at it. I heard that, later in the day, there was a line down the block to get a selfie with it.

The "generous plant nerds" who brought it out? Well, turns out, it was just one. Alameda gardener Solomon Levya simply wanted to share it with the community, according to KGO. He told them, "It produces a tree-like looking plant with a really wide canopy. It produces it over and over every year until the bulb has sort of enough energy for it to bloom. This can take 10 years, this can take 15, this can take 20."

Thanks for the most exciting impromptu happening in a long time, Solomon!

Yours truly, with Solomon's ginormous corpse flower. For reference, I'm just under 5'10" tall.
This titan arum's bloom has passed. Its 15 minutes are over, for now anyway.

First two photos by Rusty Blazenhoff and her daughter, SJ; third one by Jessica Luther @jessiejetpack/IG, used with permission