Friday, April 11, 2008

Amorphophallus titanum



This rare plant had received a great deal of press as an international botanical event so I went to the Conservatory to see and smell it for myself. It began its bloom period on Wednesday, March 9 and lasted approximately 36 hours, according to a guide. By the time I got there on Thursday at approximately 10 a.m., the plant was dying and losing its bloom--the odor that is likened to rotting flesh was gone.

The flower is lime green with a phallic-like stalk and, when blooming, has a leafy purple and green "cape." Its soil temperature is monitored and at the base of the stalk are seedlike structures, which turn out to be the male and female features. The pollen is to be collected and spread around so that other corpses may bloom! The flowering version of the plant is so rare that plant experts know how many times it has happened in conservatories since it was discovered in Sumatra in the late 19th century. Ours was no. 122, one of the smallest on record, topping out at around 29 inches.

Alas I missed the peak blooming and olfactory experience and will now have to wait for 15 more years before it blooms again! I wonder if it's worth it?!

16 comments:

  1. "Amorphophallus titanum" rien que le nom est impressionnant ;o). Il faut que tu notes sur ton agenda pour le prochain rendez-vous dans 15 ans. C'est rare une fleur qui pousse que tout les 15 ans.
    "Amorphophallus titanum" nothing that the name is impressive ;o). You should note on your calendar for the next appointment in 15 years. It is a rare flower that grows only every 15 years

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  2. Very strange plant! I think we have similar tiny ones in our woods, don't we? They are very phallic!

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  3. Maybe you can just make a visit to the city morgue for the same effect?

    I have heard of these flowers. It's neat that they had an exhibition.

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  4. I saw a programme from Kew Gardens on this plant and the waiting and the excitement for it to bloom - and the smell! Sorry you missed it but perhaps it's just as well...

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  5. We missed the blooming at our conservatory too. Not much smell when we arrived. Maybe you an visit the San Francisco one sooner than 15 years. I'll have to look up the impending date sometime. Great shot anyway.

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  6. Halcyon and I had the same (rather twisted) thought. :) I'm sorry that you missed it, but the photo still is very impressive. It is a strange, and yes-rather phallic, plant.

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  7. Smell of a rotting corpse??? No thanks, I'll skip the next blooming too. I think I'm busy that day.

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  8. I read your post during my lunch at work today....what a bazaar plant.

    What's odd, I've never gone to the conservatory in the cold months of the year, yet, that would be a great time of the year to be there.

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  9. :) you know, one should simply be grateful for some things. You WERE there, saw the end and didn't have to smell the 'peak'.

    Thank you for visiting. I'm very much AWOL these days. Love the country but the commute is taking a lot out of me - after 3 weeks clothes are still in bags and boxes - week-ends are too short and other current things take it up. One more week and it is vacation time with my daughter then mid-May I'm away for a month to visit my Mom and brother on Cape Cod.

    Have a great week-end.

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  10. It all seems a bit bit ghoulish, lamenting on missing out on the smell :-)

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  11. I have also heard about these flowers but never actually saw one. It isn't much to look at either is it? Or maybe there was a Cinderella-like bloom that lasts only a few hours. Anyway. An interesting post.

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  12. One of those bloomed here a couple of years ago. Lots of news reports, lots of excitement, lots of attention. I ran out to the Conservatory at the Botanical Gardens to experience the amazing stench for myself. Turns out it was yet another case of something not living up to the hype -- I couldn't smell a thing. Not a tiny bit of stink about it!

    You can see the non-stinky flower here: Blather From Brooklyn

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  13. Sure is a very strange plant, at least you can see it in person. Great post.

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  14. I've heard of the corpse flower but never seen or smelled one before.

    It does look impressive though...and prehistoric.

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  15. wow, what a fascinating plant! Isn 't it great to be able to enjoy species from all over the world, that must be such a wonderful conservatory to have nearby!

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  16. I've seen this only in documentaries and it's absolutely fantastic!

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