This Plant is Tall and Smells Like a Corpse

This Plant is Tall and Smells Like a Corpse

Have you ever wanted to plant a tall flower in your garden? If so, you may consider the amorphophallus titanium or titan arum. It is the largest unbranched infloresence (a group of flowers arranged on a stem) in the world! However, you may not want to plant it in your garden as its odor is often compared to a rotting corpse. This odor has given it the nickname of the corpse flower. If you’d like to see one, they are native to rainforests and limestone hills in western Sumatra and western Java of Indonesia.

Both male and female flowers grow in the same plant that can reach a height of more than 10 feet. However, the titan arum cannot self-pollinate as the female flowers open a day or two before the male flowers. Also, the titan arum requires up to 10 years before it will ever bloom. After the initial bloom, the frequency of subsequent blooms varies from every two years to every ten years with some even happening within a single year.

Sir David Attenborough gave the plant the name titan arum in 1995 when filming his BBC series The Private Life of Plants. His reasoning was that it was inappropriate to constantly be saying amorphophallus as the translation was “too rude” for TV audiences.

Amorphophallus titanium is of the genus amorphophallus, the family araceae, the order alismatales, with the clades monocots and angiosperms, in the plantae kingdom.

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