|May 15, 2001, 1:30 p.m. EDT, 80 1/4 inches
Amorphophallus titanum in full bloom. Craig Allen explains the hand pollination process.
Amorphophallus titanum 2001
What's all the Stink About?
The Return of the Titan
May 15 - Titan Arum reaches full bloom
May 18 - Spadix collapsed.
Greatest Natural Show on Earth
The Amorphophallus titanum, nicknamed "Mr. Stinky", did not disappoint Craig Allen, Conservatory Manager and Titan horticulturist. Back for a second and grander performance since its debut in June 1998, the majestic plant wowed a handful of people as it came in to full bloom in the early hours of May 15.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a living museum where the exhibit changes every day – or in this case, every hour. The huge Amorphophallus titanum plant, (commonly known as "Titan Arum"), that produced a five foot bloom in 1998 bloomed again on May 15, 2001. Craig M. Allen, Fairchild's Conservatory Manager and horticulturist responsible for growing this magnificent species, estimated the bloom to open between May 14th and 16th -- and he was right. This malodorous, giant plant, once described as "the greatest superstar of the botanical world," by David Attenborough, was growing at a rate of at least three inches a day, sometimes 4 or 5 inches. It attained a height of 80 1/4 inches (6 ft. 8 1/4 in.!).
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden started the Titan craze that has swept the country when in 1998, " Mr. Stinky," produced the first documented Titan bloom in nearly 60 years in the United States. In addition to being the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, the Titan is known for the intensely powerful stench that is released when it blooms. The foul odor, once described, as "rotting elephant corpse" is quite offensive to humans, but very alluring to carrion beetles that pollinate the plant.
Media attention once again attracted huge crowds to Fairchild and it was viewed worldwide as bloom was documented with a web cam, updated at fine minute intervals, until the spadix collapsed on May 18. News of the plant went "round the world" with coverage on television, radio and newspapers throughout the United States and in countries including Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Holland and Sweden. Visitors and scientists traveled to Fairchild from around the globe to witness this sensational natural phenomenon.
Originally thought to die after blooming, this extraordinary Titan is the first in the United States to put on a second spectacular showing. The tuber which produced the amazing flower measured 20 inches in diameter and weighed 68 pounds at planting, the weight of an average 9-year old.
|Craig M. Allen, Conservatory Manager and
Derreck Colebrooke, Visiting Horticulturist from the Bahamas, repot tuber on August 9, 2000.
Tuber stats at repotting: 68 pounds, 20 inch diameter, potted in to 42 inch diameter planter
Dr. Odoardo Beccari first discovered the Titan Arum in the rainforests of central Sumatra in 1878. The discovery of this species ranks as one of the greatest highlights of natural history exploration. The huge bloom is often taller than a man and is produced by the plant kingdom's largest tuber. After the "flower" emerges, a singe huge leaf appears. On the first day the "flower" opens, it is ready for pollination and begins releasing the overpowering stench in waves. While the odor lasts only 8 hours, the flower blooms approximately 2 ½ days and then collapses. The Titan is the most astonishing member of the aroid family. Common known members of this interesting group include philodendrons, caladiums, calla lilies and anthuriums.
- First discovered in 1878 in Sumatra, Indonesia.
- Considered to be the most spectacular bloom in the plant world.
- The Titan is the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world and can be taller than a man.
- A mature bloom could ultimately measure 7-12 feet in height.
- A mature leaf could measure 20 feet in height and 15 feet in diameter.
- Mature plant releases powerful waves of odor to attract pollinators.
- Amorphophallus means "shapeless phallus."
- The bloom will last only 2-3 days. After blooming the flower collapses.
- The "stinking" odor lasts only the first 8 hours the bloom is open.
|Titan Watch 2001|
|May 18||Spadix collapsed,|
final webcam image 3:07 p.m.
|May 17||80 1/4 inches and growing more closed|
|May 16||80 1/4 inches|
Pollen collected twice.
9:00 a.m. EDT
bloom still magnificent and showing signs of 'growing closed' after pollination
|May 15||79 1/2 inches, spathe 45 diameter|
bloom fully open
hand pollination occurred 4:00 p.m.
|May 15||12:01 a.m. spathe open, height 79 1/2 inches, intense waves of odor one could almost taste.|
|May 14||9:00 p.m. strong waves of odor,|
spath has opened approx. half way
|May 14||6:00 p.m. slight odor|
|May 14||1:00 p.m. spathe pulls further away|
|May 14||79 1/2 inches, 9:00 a.m.|
|May 13||78 inches|
|May 12||76 inches, bract separated from spathe|
|May 11||74 inches (6 ft. 2 inches)|
|May 10||70 inches|
|May 9||68 inches|
|May 8||63 inches, spathe showing coloration|
|May 7||60 inches (5 ft.)|
|May 6||54.5 inches|
|May 4||46.5 inches|
|May 3||42.5 inches|
|May 2||39.5 inches|
|May 1||36 inches|
|April 30||32.5 inches|
|April 27||26 inches, spadix first visible|
|April 26||24 inches|
|April 23||19 inches|
|April 20||13.5 inches|
|April 19||12 inches|
|April 18||11 inches|
Watch it grow . . .
|4-26-2001 24 inches|
|5-1-01 36 inches|
|5-6-01 54.5 inches|
|5-7-01 60 inches|
|5-8-01 63 inches|
|5-9-01 68 inches|
|5-12-01 76 inches|
|5-13-01 78 inches|
|5-14-01, 10:30 pm 79 1/2 inches|
|5-15-01 79 1/2 inches|
|5-17-01 80 1/4 inches|
|5-20-01 spadix collapsed|
|Titan Salute - Craig Allen, Suzanne Kores|
Photo Barbara Hobbs
You are welcome to use these images for non-commercial, educational purposes such as school reports, and presentations. They may also be used freely by the media (television, newspapers, magazines, web) if you cite Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden as the source. If you do use any of our material, we would appreciate a copy of what you produce. Our images may not be included within any kind of a commercial package (such as a clip art or screen saver package). For information regarding use, contact Suzanne Kores.
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