Zac Stayton is a tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, 26-year-old guy who's become a local celeb as ... a horticulturist. OK, a horticulturist hunk.
This would normally be surprising, but with corpse flower fever taking over Houston, normal is so June 2010. Lois (the flower’s handle) has drawn a 24/7 stream of admirers to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and Zac’s the man with the answers.
A graduate of Sam Houston State University with a degree in Horticulture, Zac’s been working at the museum for just six months. He tells CultureMap, "When I discovered I could make a living with my hands in the dirt, I couldn’t pass it up."
Zac calls himself an “amateur photographer” and loves hiking and the outdoors. He’s the kind of guy you want taking care of Houston’s rarest flower.
Concerning Lois, he explains that corpse flowers are “all a little different in their coloring.” Early on, botanists advised him to look for a line of purple around the flower’s petal fold as a sign of its opening. HMNS's flower of death has had that for days leading Zac to believe it would open sooner than it has.
As Zac researched, he found that some corpse flowers have more color than others (aka some are ugly, some are pretty) and Lois’ bud is comparable to the more beautiful blooms (such as the one pictured on the right). This means when she finally opens up, she’s going to be gorgeous. This is obviously not any ordinary bloom.
HMNS first tweeted that Lois was in the "very early stages" of bloom on Tuesday and has maintained the stance that the flower is blooming, even if the opening that everyone is awaiting for hasn't happened.
The horticulturist is done with setting timetables. Lois only follows her own pace.
In the meantime, he’s getting the “word out” about the flower and jumping into the conversation that’s taken the Internet by storm.
If you're a Twitter user in Houston, mentions of #corpseflower and Zac are impossible to miss. Zac heard that tons of things were being tweeted about him (some good, a lot flirtatious), so Wednesday night, he set up his first Twitter account. He’s hortzac and the first Twitter account Zac chose to follow, even before HMNS, was none other than the mysterious CorpzFlowrLois — the chief flirt offender.
According to the flower’s tweets, she’s expecting a proposal from Zac. CorpzFlowrLois and the rest of Houston’s single female population should take note — Stayton already has a girlfriend.
If you can’t get to the museum and you still want to see Zac (and maybe that fussed-over flower too), you can always check out on HMNS's webcam. Zac is almost always in front of the flower from 9-10 a.m., taking his daily measurements.
One of the ... blander corpse flower blooms. Stayton is sure Lois is going to be better than this: