YANZUM Gardens
Since 1989 All rights reserved 1989 - 2013
Spring Flowers sculpture, recycled from bed springs
(above photo) "Spring Flowers" garden sculpture created by author from old recycled bed springs.

Vultures & Maggots,
nature's very efficient maintenance crew.

Florida VulturesYesterday I made 4 trips to Home Depot to pick up concrete pavers for the entrance to my front door. I had to make several trips because I no longer have a truck and didn't want to destroy my car with the excessive weight. On the first trip I spotted a large vulture on the side of the street picking at the remains of some unrecognizable furry road kill. On the second trip there were 3 vultures and on the third trip there were about 10 of them. The interesting thing was only one of the giant birds was picking at the carcass while the others sat patiently waiting their turn. I never realized vultures were so polite. On the fourth trip several of the vultures were sitting on a nearby fence using their waiting time to cool themselves with their wings spread open. It was one of those moments I wished I had a camera with me because it was a sight you don't see every day.

We don't usually associate vultures with Florida but we do have plenty of them here. The ones I've seen aren't the ugly long crooked neck type we see in movies and cartoons. Our vultures are much more refined looking, but they are very large.

Florida vultures

Watching the vultures as I passed them several times got me to thinking about how efficient nature is. I think most of us view vultures in a very negative way, with a disdain much like that reserved for the untouchables in India who were born into a life of taking care of the dead and other jobs that most of us would never want to do. Somehow those jobs must be done, so nature has provided a very efficient system of dealing with dead animal carcasses and other unwanted natural substances. Vultures eat what they can get to, leaving the rest for the next crew.

As far as I know, not all areas have vultures, but most do have flies. Flies produce larvae, known as maggots, in the rotting flesh of dead animals. The maggots very efficiently eat the remains down to the bone. Just think about what it would be like without these incredible creatures to clean up the messes no one else wants to even think about, let alone touch. I'm sure we would be smelling death around us much more than we do now. With all the wildlife around, especially here in Florida, we know that these critters eventually must die, but we rarely see any sign of it. Occasionally we'll smell something outside that is obviously rotting flesh. It's a smell that is unforgettable. Incredibly, that awful smell is what attracts the flies. It sounds the alert that there is work to be done nearby. The flies zoom into action and take care of the job immediately.

I have a very interesting plant in my garden that works in much the same way. This incredible plant puts out a new bloom every couple years. The incredible part is that the flower looks very similar to raw red meat and it smells just like rotting flesh. This way it attracts the flies it needs to pollinate it so there will be seeds for the next season. It's not a pleasant flower for us to smell but then it wasn't designed for our nostrils. Its common name is voodoo lily, but there are many varieties of voodoo lily. This particular one is Amorphophallus paeoniifolius. I keep it for the shear wow factor. Nature is so amazing, don't you think?

  Amorphophallus paeoniifolius "Voodoo Lily"
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius "Voodoo Lily"

Home Page

Garden Plants
Flowering Tropical Plants
Flowering Tropical Trees
Flowering Tropical Vines
Palm Trees
Tropical Bamboo
Tropical Foliage Plants
Tropical Water Plants

Botanical Gardens
Palm Trees For Sale

Garden Articles
Creating Recycled Garden Art
Creating Garden Design Elements
Create a Garden Compost
About Garden Recycling

Responsible Lawn & Garden Watering

Frogs in the Rain

Nature's Maintenance Crew
Vanishing Bees

Garden Market
Garden Art for sale

Home Interior Design Market
Masks, etc.
Vintage Etchings & Prints
Haitian Paintings
Collector Quality African Masks & Statues

About Yanzum
FAQ (Policy Page)
Associates & Referrals

©MMIII - MMXIII All parts of this website are copyrighted and may not be used without written permission

Purchase Books Here

Back to top of page