About Amorphophallus titanum
Frequently Asked Questions
When will the Amorphophallus titanum bloom?
- We never know when one of our plants will bloom. We have three individuals of blooming size: ‘Mr. Stinky’, ‘Alice’, and ‘Audrey III’.
- At Fairchild our plants have bloomed approximately every three years in the months of May, June, and September.
- ‘Audrey III’ was the last Amorphophallus titanum to bloom at FTBG in May 2006; ‘Alice’ bloomed in May 2005 and ‘Mr. Stinky’ and ‘Audrey III’ both bloomed in May 2003.
- The bloom only stays open for a few days.
What happens after the Amorphophallus blooms?
- The bloom collapses and dies back completely.
- The corm remains in the pot resting for a dormant period.
When does the leaf grow?
- After the dormant period, a single leaf grows from the corm.
- This single leaf can be 20 feet high and 15 feet wide and remain up for 9-12 months.
- This large leaf makes sugars that are transported to the underground corm and stored as starch.
- Each year, the leaf withers before a new one develops, using the corm’s stored energy.
- Some years the corm will produce a bloom instead of a leaf, but the corm will never produce two blooms in a row. It would not have enough stored starch (energy) to produce the bloom.
Does the bloom really smell?
- Yes, it produces a strong, nauseating, scent that is often been described as rotting meat, giving the plant it’s common name of Corpse Flower.
- The odor comes in waves and is strongest on the first two days the bloom opens.
Why does it smell?
- The bloom produces the obnoxious odor to attract pollinators.
- The pollinators are thought to be beetles or sweat bees.
How large is the flower?
- The bloom of the Amorphophallus titanum is made up of several parts, and the entire structure can be 7-12 feet high. The botanical term for the structure is an inflorescence, which is a structure containing many flowers.
- The spathe is one part of the Amorphophallus bloom. The spathe is a bell shaped structure that has ribbed sides and a frilled edge. When the bloom opens the inside of the spathe is a deep reddish color.
- The spadix is at the center of the bloom. It is yellow to cream in color and is essentially hollow inside.
- At the base of the spadix, hundreds of male and female flowers are produced, which are enclosed in a chamber created by the spathe.
Where does the plant grow from?
- The leaf or flower of the Amorphophallus titanum grows from an underground corm.
- This corm is a swollen stem that stores food for the plant.
- The corm is spherical in shape and can weigh up to 150 pounds.
- Right now, Audrey III’s corm is Fairchild’s largest, weighing over 100 pounds. Alice’s corm weighs 25 pounds and Mr. Stinky’s corm weighs 10 pounds.
Where is the Amorphophallus found in the wild?
- The Amorphophallus titanum grows only in the rainforests of Western Sumatra.
- There are 170-200 other species of Amorphophallus. They are found in areas ranging from tropical Asia, Africa, and Australasia.
- Fairchild has one of the largest collections of Amorphophallus species in cultivation.
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