Corpse Flower

April 02, 2005

Corpse-espod copy

Provided and copyright by: Joe Klein
Summary authors & editors: Joe Klein

The bloom of this Corpse Flower occurred on October 6, 2004 at Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas, California near San Diego. The enormous, rare and very smelly Amorphophallus titanum, or titan arum is considered by some the superstar of the plant kingdom. Native to Indonesia, the plant rarely blooms in its 40-year life span, and not often in cultivation. For about eight hours during its blooming cycle it emits an odor likened to "rotten eggs or road kill" to attract pollinating, carrion-eating beetles, hence the name Corpse Flower. The plant begins as a large tuber. It then sends up a solitary pointed shoot that can grow at the rate of six inches (about 15 cm) a day, sometimes reaching 12 feet (almost 4 m) in height. Not a lot is known about this plant as it's difficult to find in the wild, especially flowering. The Corpse Flower plant has only been seen in bloom about 20 times since it was first displayed in New York in 1937 and is thought to be the largest flowering plant structure in the world.

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