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Giant Flowers that Smell like Death set to Bloom

Aug 02, 2019

The flower smells like rotten meat and can grow up to 8 feet tall and people can’t wait to see the titan arum or Amorphophallus titanium. It is about to bloom for the first time since 2016.

Brandon Huber the owner of the plant claims that the flower will start to open Wednesday night with prime viewing on Thursday.

Corpse plants are native to Indonesia where they grow on rain forest edges and are famous for being one of the largest flowering structures in the world. As per N.C State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the flower weighs similar to Indonesian corpse lily, the world’s largest flower.

This flower is categorized as an endangered species because of rapid deforestation.

Huber got his corpse flower from the Huntington Botanical Gardens in California, when it was very small, an underground stem-like a crocus bulb. It is not tiny anymore, now it is 2 feet across by 1 ½ feet tall, weighs 120 pounds and is shaped like a doughnut pool float with a solid bottom. The plant is named Lupin, both in honor of the NC State Wolfpack football team and the Harry Potter character, Remus Lupin.

Huber said: “Lupin is extra special to me because I have always wanted to see one bloom and it turned out to be my own".

These Titan arums are smelly for a reason,  they are pollinated by carrion beetles looking for dead animals to lay their eggs. Huber described that even though both male and female flowers are found on each arum, the female flowers mature before the males. The females need beetles and fly to bring pollen from other corpse plants to produce fruits.

The arum flower smell like dead things and the smell has to spread as far as possible.

Researchers found the corpse plant produces chemicals like trimethylamine, that causes a rotten fish smell, and dimethyl trisulfide, which smells like cooked cabbage and decomposing meat to humans.

“I would say it smells like roadkill or rotting seafood,” said Huber. “It’s not a pleasant smell.”

One fascinating thing to note is the amount of people travelling to see it. The flower stalk only lasts a few days, and Huber won’t be fertilizing it this time as the arum could expend too much energy making seed and may die.

He said that once the flowering is over, tall spadix will fall over, turn brown and dry out.

Cultivated arums tend to flower about every seven years.
Tags: N.C State University’s corpse plant  Amorphophallus titanium  titan arum  flowers  giant flowers  Brandon Huber  corpse plant  

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