The titan arum or Amorphophallus titanum is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world.
Due to its odor, which is reminiscent of the smell of rotting flesh, the titan arum is also known as the “corpse flower” and its scent can be detected from up to half a mile away.
During bloom, the tip of the spadix is approximately the same as the human body temperature, which helps the perfume volatilize; this heat is also believed to assist in the illusion that attracts carcass-eating insects which help to pollinate the flower.
It is extremely rare, and grows naturally in the rainforests of Sumatra. The flowering stalk, which can grow as high as 10 feet (3 meters), produces a bloom that opens to a diameter of 3 to 4 feet (1-1.2 meters).
The open flower usually only lasts approximately 48 hours. There aren’t many of these in captivity, and they don’t bloom very often – or for very long. There can sometimes be decades to one hundred years between each bloom.
We were fortunate to be able to “experience” this one at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul’s Como Park.
This particular Corpse Flower has a nickname — “BOB too” — because it is the second Corpse Flower in the Conservatory’s collection. The Conservatory got the plant through a Gustavus Adolphus College chemistry professor, who collected the seed in Sumatra almost 20 years ago.
It was a difficult shot to get, with SO many people crowding around trying to view it, combined with the fact that my eyes were watering so badly from the odor. LOL!
I hope that you enjoy a rare glimpse of this beauty…..without the fine aroma to accompany it. 😉
As always, thanks for looking! -Dina 🙂