I am off at SkepchickCon this weekend, so how about a photo? I was really excited to have a chance to see this in person–I had heard about corpse flowers for years, but didn’t have a trip to Sumatra planned, and thought I’d never get to see one.
Amorphophallus titanum, or the Titan Arum produces the world’s largest flower. A plant can go for many years without flowering, and when it does the bloom lasts only one or two days.
But the plant is most famous—or infamous—for its foul odor. Hence the nickname, Corpse Flower.
Surprise! UConn has several in it’s greenhouses, and one decided to bloom this year. The guy in this photo is a little over 6 feet tall, to give you a sense of scale. There is a great series of time-lapse photos here to show just how amazingly quickly the flower grows.
This plant is pollinated by carrion flies and beetles, so develops a major stink when it flowers to lure carrion feeding insects inside the flower. The male and female parts of the plant are down inside, and pollination occurs when the insects move pollen from plant to plant.
It wasn’t as powerfully stinky as I expected, but certainly did smell like something dead was in there. The flower fully blooms at night, so it’s only partially open in this photo. Perhaps the big stink is stronger at night.
One off the bucket list for me!