TITAN ARUM 2010: lITTLE STINKER & MALADORA
Little Stinker started to unfurl at 7:00 this evening (7/28). It should be fully open Thursday, July 29th.
LITTLE STINKER DAILY GROWTH
MALADORA DAILY GROWTH
The largest flowering structure in the plant world belongs to Amorphophallus titanum, affectionately known as the “Titan Arum” or “Corpse Flower”. This structure is actually not a single flower but an inflorescence (a stalk of many flowers). The flowers are a mixture of tiny male and female flowers held out of sight at the base of the central phallus-like structure (spadix) surrounded by a pleated skirt-like
covering (spathe) that is bright green on the outside and deep maroon inside when opened. The female flowers mature before the male (pollen producing) flowers to avoid self-pollination.
Ever since this plant was first discovered in Sumatra, Indonesia in 1878 by Italian botanist Odoardo Boccari, it has excited world-wide attention due to its massive size, fascinating appearance and habit of producing a foul odor resembling rotten flesh (to attract insects that pollinate it). To assist in the process, the ‘flower-spadix’ actually heats up (to human body temperature).
This plant and its relatives are members of a genus often referred to as Voodoo lilies in the arum family (Araceae). Common relatives include the philodendron, calla lily and cobra lily (the Jack-in-the-pulpit of eastern US). These have an underground tuber.
The plant typically requires at least 7 years of age before it blooms but may go much longer. Trudy arose from a seed collected in Sumatra in 1995; it first bloomed here in July, 2005 (at age 12 years). The tuber (swollen underground stem) must reach at least about 30 pounds before blooming. Trudy’s tuber now weighs 54 lbs and fills the pot, requiring constant watering and food. After blooming, Trudy ‘rested’ for 4 years, producing a large leaf and replenishing its tuberous stores.
In the normal life cycle, the plant produces a single enormous branched leaf that looks like a small tree reaching 10-15 ft (on display in the Tropical House). The leaf will go completely dormant after about 16 months and the tuber then ‘rests’ for awhile. When it next sprouts, it will produce either another single leaf or the enormous bloom.
The flower bud may take months to form but then only remains open for a day or two before collapsing to restart the cycle. The characteristic ‘corpse’ odor is only produced about a day before the collapse. Trudy’s first flower in 2005 reached 5.5 ft, but it looks like this flower will be taller.
If pollinated, the stalk grows into a large club-like head of orange-red seeds.
2009 TRUDY TIME LAPSE: