In June 2007, a titan arum plant belonging to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany, began to bud. On June 25, the 57-inch tall plant was brought to the U.S. Botanic Garden for display because our Conservatory provides an opportunity for the public to see the plant. Staff and visitors alike speculated as to when this titan arum would be in full bloom and when the “corpse-like” smell it emits would become apparent. The spadix had grown one foot - to 69" - by June 30, and the dramatic blooming process commenced late that afternoon with the unfurling of the spathe and the emission of the rotting meat odor. The bloom was fully open by early the next morning, July 1. Within 24 hours, the spathe closed up again and blooming had ceased.
Additional information: This gigantic plant, Amorphophallus titanum (commonly known as “titan arum”), is a true wonder of Nature. The renown of the titan arum comes from its great size -- it is reputed to have the largest known un-branched inflorescence (“flower structure”). The plant is native only to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. The titan arum emerges from, and stores energy in, a huge underground stem called a “corm.” The plant blooms on an unpredictable schedule, when sufficient energy is accumulated, usually after several years. The developing inflorescence initially appears as a pale green, bud-shaped structure composed of a “spathe” enclosing a central spike-like “spadix.” At first hidden inside the spathe, the spadix is revealed as the entire structure swells. At full bloom, the spathe is fully unfurled to reveal a crimson interior. The ultimate height of the spadix depends on the energy accumulated in the corm, and the speed of the development depends on day and night temperatures. The average recorded height of an inflorescence is about 5 feet, and the largest one in cultivation was 9 feet, 2 inches. In their natural habitat, titan arums can grow up to 12 feet tall!
Growth Chart for the Titan Arum
|6-26-07 6pm||62 3/4"|
|6-27-07 8am||64 1/2"|
|6-27-07 4pm||65 1/4"|
|6-28-07 8am||67" (37" Girth)|
|6-29-07 8am||68 1/2"|