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The Titan is About to Bloom!

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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The corpse flower at the US Botanic Garden Conservatory on July 18.

The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), also known as the corpse flower or stinky plant, is about to bloom at the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory! The bloom will only last for 24-48 hours. The conservatory is open for extended hours for Thursday July 18 and Friday July 19 so that more people can get a glimpse of the mammoth flower. Why, you might ask, would people be so interested in experiencing this unique bloom?

First of all, it’s huge. Among all members of the plant kingdom, it is reputed to have the largest inflorescence (group of flowers on a stem). Secondly, the massive bloom produces a stench that has been compared to rotting flesh. Third, the bloom actually generates heat – which helps the odor to travel even further. The combination of its size and smell allow the corpse flower to attract potential pollinators from far and wide. Lastly, the plants do not bloom on an annual cycle – the last bloom of this specimen occurred in 2007. Corpse flowers are native to the rain forests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and rarely survive outside of their native range.

If you are in the DC area, you should really check it out!

Watch the livestream here, and have patience, it is very popular and may not load on your first try.

Carin Bondar About the Author: Carin Bondar is a biologist, writer and film-maker with a PhD in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. Find Dr. Bondar online at www.carinbondar.com, on twitter @drbondar or on her facebook page: Dr. Carin Bondar – Biologist With a Twist. Follow on Twitter @drbondar.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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