[nafex] Titan Amorphophallas
doreenh at ticon.net
Sat Jun 2 22:59:29 EDT 2001
I had the rare pleasure of seeing a titan arum (the largest flower on the
planet) in bloom today at the University of Wisconsin at Madison Botany
Dept. greenhouses. Paul Berry, head of the Botany Dept., has been babying
this plant for nearly 9 years. He received a seedling from an associate in
Arizona, who got it from Wilbert Hetterscheid, the Dutch plant explorer.
Today, the bloom is 7 feet, 7 inches, and Berry predicts that the spathes
will unfurl and the bloom will be in full flower on Wednesday. He is going
to attempt to hand pollinate it. I hope I get seed!! Any volunteers with a
The Titan Amorphophallas is also the smelliest plant on earth, reportedly
having the odor of rotten fish to attract sweat bees and carrion flies for
pollination. There have been photographs of people in gas masks next to the
flower. However, after the Titan at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew
bloomed, I talked with Prof. Gerrald Lewis, the curator of the herbarium
there about the smell. He said the press over-hyped it, and it only smelled
of a bit of bad fish, to quote him.
I'll be glad to send digital pictures I took today to anyone who wants them.
I can either inbed them in an html format (if you are Win 95 or higher) or I
can attach them as jpgs.
This flower is truly awesome and a wonder of the plant world.
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