Titan arum

Titan arum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Arales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Amorphophallus
Species: titanum
Binomial name
Amorphophallus titanum
The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) or "corpse plant" has the largest inflorescence in the world (but not the largest single flower--that distinction belongs to Rafflesia). It is taller than a man. Like its cousins the arum and the calla, it consists of a fragrant spadix of flowers wrapped by a spathe, which looks like the flower's single petal. The "fragrance" of the inforescence resembles rotting meat, attracting carrion-eating beetles that pollinate it.

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 prevents the flower from self-pollenating.

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 green stalk that branches into three sections at the top, each containing many leaflets. The leaf structure can reach up to 6 meters tall and 5 meters 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 as many as 4 months and the process repeats

First discovered in Sumatra in 1878, the plant flowers only infrequently in the wild and even more rarely when domesticated. It first flowered in captivity at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew UK. In recent years the number of plants that flower has steadily increased and it is not uncommon for there to be 5 or more flowering events around the world in a single year. The most recent flowerings were June 9, 2003 University of California, Davis, June 10, 2003 Kew, July 2, 2003 Le Conservatoire Botanique, Brest, and July 23, 2003 United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.

External links

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