The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) bloomed at the Copenhagen Botanical Garden this tuesday (top four pictures) and is now slowing closing thursday (bottom picture). The huge “bread loaf” structure (spadix) is for sending out a powerful smell of rotten flesh which attracts insects that pollinate the tiny flowers hidden at the bottom of the spadix, as seen in the third and fourth picture. It’s the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world (the largest branched is the talipot palm and the largest single flower is Rafflesia arnoldii) but this individual is “only” 1,60 m while the world record is 3,11 m.
In another day or two the whole thing is going to wilt and collapse and the corm hidden in the soil is going to gather resources for the next bloom, hopefully in a few years, maybe 15, maybe never.
I was working in the greenhouse and let me tell you, pasty scandinavians are not made for +30 C temperatures with a humidity of +80%.
My Ceropegia woodii or chain of hearts blooms often, much to my appreciation! They belong to my favorite flowering plant family, Apocynaceae, which also contains corpse flower or carrion flowers in the Stapelia genus. Also called a corpse flower but in a different family is Amorphophallus titanum, Aracae (the Greek etymology of which is giant misshapen phallus). The huge spathe and spadix inflorescence of A. titanum smells like- you guessed it- rotting meat, attracting flies and carrion beetles as pollinators. For the curious, I detect no smells from my friend C. woodii.
Be glad tumblr isn’t scratch & sniff (yet?)—one of our Amorphophallus titanum specimens (aka corpse flower, stinky plant, titan arum) is getting ready to bloom! We’ll be posting daily pics on our instagram and website, sending out updates via twitter, and rounding out the fun with some goodies here on tumblr. Best guess right now is that it’ll bloom sometime this coming week. It’s on view in the Conservatory now through the big stink.
caption: Image from volume 117 (January 1891) of Curtis’ Botanical Magazine, in The Huntington’s holdings. GIFed by The Huntington.
8/27 update: It bloomed, it smelled weird, it closed up. Be sure to check out the rest of our posts featuring all sorts of photos and timelapse gifs of the process. It was way cool.
To be honest, I’m excited about Equus! (there isn’t an official buy link yet, but envision a collection of fantasy about horses, Pegasus, unicorns, centaurs, etc) Having a piece of short fiction included in a Real Anthology™ with other people’s stories, edited by a real live editor, with payment–is a first. I’ve had stories in magazines, in other anthologies, but things always feel a little more real when they pay you, right?
Furthermore, the story included is on my own terms. It’s something I’m proud of, that I feel is original, a story that is very me. I had an idea and wrote it and someone liked it enough to publish it with few tweaks: that’s how writing is supposed to go. That’s how writing does not usually go.
Here’s a little snip of ‘Eel and Bloom,’ a story about water horses and Amorphophallus titanum in rural Florida:
reached out and ran her hands up the thick stem of the corpse flower. I hated
to watch her fingers, pale on the purple, mottled flesh of the bloom. It
seemed obscene, the corpulent stalk and its aroma, its heavy, open blossom.
Carnal, suggestive where her ruined left palm was death. Even in her girlhood
she’d never been a dab hand with limeys as I was. She lifted something from her
lap, a handkerchief, and combed bits of dark pollen onto the white cloth. The
lace edging the kerchief told me it was one of her nice ones, one of the
Irish-woven hankies intended for my hope chest, before everyone had agreed
there would be no need of one.
Amorphophallus titanum known as the titan arum, is a flowering plant with a large unbranched inflorescence. Due to its odor, which is reminiscent of the smell of a decomposing mammal, the titan arum is also known as the corpse flower, or corpse plant
ok so really quick i want to talk about this plant and i promise there’s a reason at the end but god man just. god
this is Amorphophallus titanum, a threatened plant in western Sumatra (this picture is it in bloom.
-there are about 100 plants of these in cultivation right now, generally by univerties like Cornell and the University of Wisconsin Madison and world-class research centers/gardens like the KEW in the UK
-They’re so valued by reaserch centers that they’re generally given names (the one at UWM was named ‘Bucky’)
-They’re a carrion flower, meaning that when they bloom, they give off a sent that smells like rotting flesh, feces, ect to attract pollinators
-They can grow up to ten feet tall
-they have to be repotted from time to time, which is hard for researchers/botany staff bc adult plants generally weigh 75 kg (165 pounds)
-one large one at the KEW a few years back weighed 91kg 200 pounds
and heres the thing…….. yes heres the kicker
“Amorphophallus titanum” means “Titan misshapen penis”
some dude looked at this and was like you know what this giant eight foot tall 200 pound smelly plant reminds me of???????????????? u know what it reminds me o
Known as the titan arum, is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescencein the world. The titan arum’s inflorescence is not as large as that of the talipot palm, Corypha umbraculifera, but the inflorescence of the talipot palm is branched rather than unbranched.
Due to its odor, which is reminiscent of the smell of a decomposing mammal, the titan arum is characterized as a carrion flower, and is also known as the “corpse flower”, or “corpse plant” (Indonesian:bunga bangkai – bunga means flower, while bangkai means corpse or cadaver). For the same reason, the title “corpse flower” is also attributed to the genus Rafflesia which, like the titan arum, grows in the rainforests of Sumatra.