Amorphophallus titanum (Becc.) Becc., Bull. Reale Soc. Tosc. Ortic. 4:46. 1879 (Syn: Amorphophallus selebicus Nakai; Conophallus titanum Becc.);
titan arum, carrion flower, the “Corpse flower”, or “Corpse plant”;
Amorphophallus titanum (from Ancient Greek amorphos, “without form, misshapen” + phallos, “phallus“, and titan, “giant” ), known as the titan arum, is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world. The titan arum’s inflorescence is not as large as that of the talipot palm, Corypha umbraculifera, but the inflorescence of the talipot palm is branched rather than unbranched.
Due to its odor, which is reminiscent of the smell of a decomposing mammal, the titan arum is characterized as a carrion flower, and is also known as the corpse flower, or corpse plant (Indonesian: bunga bangkai – bunga means flower, while bangkai can be translated as corpse, cadaver, or carrion). For the same reason, the title corpse flower is also attributed to the genus Rafflesia which, like the titan arum, grows in the rainforests of Sumatra.
Amorphophallus titanum is endemic to western Sumatra, where it grows in openings in rainforests on limestone hills. The plant is cultivated by botanic gardens and private collectors around the world.
Titan arum’s inflorescence can reach over 3 metres (10 ft) in height. Like the related cuckoo pint and calla lily, it consists of a fragrant spadix of flowers wrapped by a spathe, which looks like a large petal. In the case of the titan arum, the spathe is green on the outside and dark burgundy red on the inside, and deeply furrowed. The spadix is hollow and resembles a large loaf of French bread. Down inside the sheath of the spathe the spadix bears two rings of small flowers. The upper ring bears the male flowers, the lower ring is spangled with bright red-orange carpels. The “fragrance” of the titan arum resembles rotting meat, attracting carrion-eating beetles and flesh flies (family Sarcophagidae) that pollinate it. The inflorescence’s deep red color and texture contribute to the illusion that the spathe is a piece of meat. During bloom, the tip of the spadix is approximately human body temperature, which helps the perfume volatilize; this heat is also believed to assist in the illusion that attracts carcass-eating insects.
Both male and female flowers grow in the same inflorescence. The female flowers open first, then a day or two following, the male flowers open. This usually prevents the flower from self-pollinating.
After the flower dies back, a single leaf, which reaches the size of a small tree, grows from the underground corm. The leaf grows on a somewhat green stalk that branches into three sections at the top, each containing many leaflets. The leaf structure can reach up to 6 metres (20 ft) tall and 5 metres (16 ft) across. Each year, the old leaf dies and a new one grows in its place. When the corm has stored enough energy, it becomes dormant for about four months. Then, the process repeats.
The corm is the largest known, typically weighing around 50 kilograms (110 lb). When a specimen at the Princess of Wales Conservatory, Kew Gardens, was repotted after its dormant period, the weight was recorded as 91 kilograms (200 lb). In 2006, a corm in the Botanical Garden of Bonn, Germany was recorded at 117 kilograms (260 lb).
(From Wikipedia on 28.7.13)
LARGEST FLOWER IN THE WORLD! – efloraofindia | Google Groups : 2 posts by 2 authors. 4 images.
Have a look at the largest flower in the world. A real wonder of nature !
Amorphophallus Titanum (Rio Blanco , Veracruz , Mexico ) Thursday, October 8, 2009 , 8:49 PM
The largest flower in the world was blossoming in Rio Blanco, Veracruz, Mexico. Two meters high and weighing 75 kilos, it has the peculiarity of blooming only during three days every 40 years. You’d only see it once or twice in a lifetime!
Amorphophallus titanum (Araceae), also called “cadaverous flower” has the pecularity of blooming only during three days every 40 years, a privilege that Mother Nature
bestowed on this town in Veracruz .
Just to mention, this is not a flower but an inflorescence with thousands of flowers. The flowers are in fact amongst the tiniest and not largest. The showy outer structure represents spathe of this spadix inflorescence. The credit for the largest flower goes to Rafflesia arnoldii, a parasitic plant of SE Asia. Link
Amorphophallus titanum from California : Attachments (3). 2 posts by 2 authors.
Uploading my pictures of Amorphophallus titanum from University of California Botanical Garden, taken in June 2008
Wonderful!!! Certainly appears to be huge!!!
Fw: Fwd: FW: LARGEST FLOWER IN THE WORLD! : 7 posts by 5 authors. 3 images.
LARGEST FLOWER IN THE WORLD not Mexican
Photograph is genuine but the description is inaccurate.
This email forward claims that an attached photograph depicts a flower growing in mountains near Rio Blanco, Veracruz, Mexico that is the largest in the world and only blooms once every forty years for four days.
However, while the image itself is genuine, the email is inaccurate in its description of the flower. The flower shown in the image – Amorphophallus titanum or Titan Arum – is indeed considered the largest in the world. Also known as the “Corpse Flower” because of its foul smell, Amorphophallus titanum is a prized addition to a number of well-known botanical gardens around the world, including London’s Kew Gardens, California’s Huntington Botanical Gardens and Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens.
The plants have become quite famous and always attract large crowds when a particular specimen blooms at one of the above locations or at a number of others gardens around the world. One such plant was also featured in Sir David Attenborough’s outstanding BBC documentary The Private Life Of Plants.
However, while specimens of the Corpse Flower may exist in gardens in Mexico, the plant certainly does not grow wild in that country as implied in the email. In fact, the native habitat of Amorphophallus titanum is the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia.
Moreover, the photograph of the Titan Arum included in the message was not taken in Mexico. The photograph was actually taken at Stuttgart, Germany’s Wilhelma Botanical and Zoological Gardens by Lothar Grünz in October 2005.
The same photograph along with details about where, when and by whom the picture was taken, is available on the Wikimedia Commons website. And, another shot published on the Wilhelma website clearly shows the same building in the background as that shown in the above photograph.
While bloomings of the Amorphophallus titanum are certainly rare, and the flowers only last for two or three days, it is not true that they only bloom once every forty years as claimed in the message. The specimens kept in various botanical gardens often go for several years between blooms. However, the plants are not set to a forty year blooming cycle and many specimens have bloomed much more regularly. In “The Private Life Of Plants”, David Attenborough suggests that Amorphophallus titanum in the wild bloom about once every 1000 days.
Thus, it seems clear that an unknown prankster has simply taken the picture of the Wilhelma Titan Arum and tacked on some fanciful information about Mexico and a fictitious forty year bloom cycle.
This information can easily be found online
Thanks Max for reminding me
I had also photographed this plant, but in fruiting condition in University of California Botanical Garden last year. I will upload it separately.
Thanks for sharing the information.
A little clarification here. As the subject says, this is not the World’s Largest flower. Actually this an ‘Inflorescence’ not a flower.
Raffelsia is the largest one: http://radio.weblogs.com/0105910/2004/01/14.html
Also this is not the largest Inflorescence.
Titan Arum – Amorphophallus titanum – is blooming : 11 posts by 7 authors. Attachments (4 + 6).
The plant with the largest inflorescence in the world, Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum), is currently in flowering in our medicinal plant garden at the University of Mississippi. The flower-bud is now 3-days old and has grown to over 3 ft tall; at maturity it may reach 7-10 ft high. It may gradually bloom during the next 2-3 days. In full bloom, it emanates a characteristic, strong, unpleasant (rotting meat!) odor in order to attract the pollinator flies. So, it is also known as ‘Corpse Flower’.
This is a rare and threatened plant species, native to Indonesia. The plant takes more than 5 years to start flowering and it blooms infrequently (once in 3-5 years). It even more rarely blooms under cultivation. For more details visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amorphophallus_titanum
I will post more pictures when the inflorescence opens fully.
Whenever a Titan Lily blooms it makes a news. And a smell of rotten flesh probably to attract pollinator insects.You are lucky to see it in front of you.And thanks for showing this majestic plant in bloom.
Thank you all for your comments and appreciations.
The flower (inflorescence) of Titan Arum looks very attractive, grand and majestic in full bloom!
More pictures are at https://www.flickr.com/photos/vijayasankar_raman/13998667587/
Wow, thanks … for sharing this wonderful plant. I wonder why this plant need to produce such a big flower putting so much resources. Any idea about its pollinator?
Titan Arum flowers are pollinated by carrion beetles and flies. This way the flowers tap an unusual source of pollinators. Like some other Amorphophallus species, A. titanum also produces heat and the typical (rotting meat) odor simulating freshly killed animal body in order to attract this special group of pollinators.
The plant lives in evergreen forest; it blooms once in 3-5 years and the flowers live just for a day. So it has to be successful in pollination and seed-setting. The flowers (infl.) are large and prominent; and the spadix acts like a torch, producing heat (higher than the surrounding air) so that the odor spreads up above the tree canopy and to greater distances.
Its really amazing!
Here is a nice video of the pollination: http://www.arkive.org/titan-arum/amorphophallus-titanum/video-09.html
Amazingly beautiful video.. thanks …
Our study on this plant is now published. Please check any of the following links to view/download the full article.
Thanks for sharing … a very good work on a rare plant!!
Thanks … I had photographed this plant from UCBG mostly in fruiting stage in 2008. It flowered again in last week of July 2016, but missed it although I was California, read it only later on. For last one year there were a number of messages on WhatsApp claiming that this plant flowers only once in 40 years. I was tired of convincing people that it is not so.
There was also a rumor that Shivling appeared in the pot
Thanks …! Yes, I have seen the beautiful pictures posted by you. Fruit setting is in fact rare in this species as the flowers are not self pollinated. Hence the pollination in garden-grown plants are usually done artificially with stored pollen.
Araceae, Arecaceae and Zingiberaceae Fortnight: Araceae- Amrphophalus titanum from California-GSAUG07 : 1 post by 1 author.
Flora Picture of the Year 2014 – Vijayasankar Raman : 11 posts by 10 authors. Attachments (1)
I am posting the picture of Amorphophallus titanum as my Flora Picture of 2014.
The species produces the largest unbranched inflorescence of the world. This plant, native to Sumatra Islands of Indonesia, is growing in the medicinal plant garden of University of Mississippi.
Two of the plants in our garden bloomed in May and June marking the first two published blooms in 2014 as per Wikipedia.
It is a pleasure to see this stunning, spectacular giant, if you can manage the strong odor!
quite rare but that list seems incomplete….
the kraft garden /pavilion at EPCOT if i remember correctly had one opening sometimes in the mid 80s..
or was it the selby ‘s that has stuck in my memory…
took many days to get rid of the stench from the deep pockets of the paranasal sinuses…
still a rare picture
Great! One of the largest inflorescences with smell of rotten flesh. An apt selection for Flora Pictur e of the Year. Whenever it blooms in a botanical garden it makes a news.
Hope I also see it live one day.
… very nice picture of flower with a giant inflorescence; what elaborate architecture that would be !!
It is Giant Amazing plant as well as so lovely shot. Thanks for Sharing …