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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Titan Arum: a Stinky Flower Species

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Titan arum flower photograph by the United States Botanical Garden

Titan arum flower photograph by the United States Botanical Garden

Native and endemic to Sumatra island in INDONESIA, the titan arum “corpse flower” is found in botanical gardens and is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a vulnerable species. The plant takes at least several years and up to about a decade to bloom and releases a rotting flesh stench during the blooming process, explaining the spectacle and media attention a blooming flower may bring. For example, a titan arum flower nicknamed Trudy bloomed Saturday night, July 25th, 2015 at the University of California Botanical Garden in Berkeley, California, UNITED STATES. A YouTube time-lapse video and timeline, both from the botanical garden, reveal how Trudy progressed in its blooming process. Another important event at this botanical garden is the 125th anniversary of its 1890 official establishment by E. L. Greene, the university’s first Department of Botany chairman.

A titan arum flower also recently bloomed in Tokyo, JAPAN’s Jindai Botanical Garden. Last year, a flower nicknamed Izzy bloomed at Missouri Botanical Garden in Saint Louis, Missouri. The titan arum flower’s scientific name is Amorphophallus titanum, in reference to its phallic inflorescence – the plant’s flowering structure. This feature may reach heights of about 10 feet or 3 meters, considered to be the longest inflorescence of any flower species in the world! Titan arum’s inflorescence is surrounded by a spathe, essentially a giant petal surrounding it. This National Geographic report explains that pollinating flies and beetles are attracted to the plant’s odor and warm temperature.

The specie’s classification is as follows: Plantae for the kingdom, Tracheophyta for the phylum, Liliopsida for the class, Alismatales for the order, Araceae for the family, and Amorphophallus for the genus.

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