The past couple weeks, corpse flowers have been blooming at gardens across the country. Amorphophallus titanum, or titan arum, flowers with the odor of a thousand toxic fumes, the height of two men, and draws crowds as large as any circus. The corpse flower may be most famous in the genus, but more than 170 species of Amorphophallus have been indentified, including a new one earlier this year, found in Madagascar's dry rocky soil.
In 2006, almost four centuries after their ancestors arrived in North America, honeybee colonies began to succumb to colony collapse disorder and collapse at a record rate. Human beings can do perfectly well without honey, but we can't exist without pollination. And without pollination by bees, tomatoes, cucumbers, and countless other crops won't fruit.
Richard Schweid looks at the return of native bee species and how they might save our crops.