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Amorphophallus titanum Blooms for the Fourth Time June 4, 2010

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Enthusiastic crowds turned out to see the Corpse Flower when it last bloomed at The Huntington on June 4, 2010.

The flower was at its fullest (and foulest) during the first 12 hours of its bloom, when it was at the peak of its fertility. After it ceases to be receptive to pollination, the Corpse Flower begins to close up its petal-like spathe, and the odor it has been emitting to lure pollinating insects begins to dissipate. Over the next 6 months, hundreds of small orange berries will begin to develop at the base of the spadix.

 

What's the stink about?

When it bloomed at The Huntington in 1999, the gigantic Amorphophallus titanum (a.k.a. the Corpse Flower) created international headlines. A second flowering in 2002, and a third in June 2009 were equally sensational.

 

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FRI, JUNE 4, 5 P.M. AT FULL BLOOM

 

 Track daily growth

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"Stinky" Day to Day

 

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Amorphophallus titanum

 

The Titan Arum or “Corpse Flower”

 

Native to the equatorial rain forests of Sumatra, the Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan Arum, can reach more than 6 feet in height when it blooms, opening to a diameter of 3–4 feet. But the plant is perhaps most famous—or infamous—for its exceptionally foul odor.  Hence the nickname, Corpse Flower.

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Amorphophallus titanum bloom in The Huntington's Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science, June 18, 2009.

 

Why all the excitement?


A Titan Arum in bloom is as rare as it is spectacular. A plant can go for many years without flowering, and when it  does the bloom lasts only one or two days. Some people travel around the world hoping to see a Titan at the moment it flowers. For botanists and the public, being “in the right place at the right time” to see one of these magnificent plants in bloom can be a once-in-a-lifetime treat. This is only the fourth time a Titan Arum has bloomed at The Huntington.

 

The Huntington’s First "Big Stinky" in 1999


In the summer of 1999, The Huntington was the focus of world-wide attention when it exhibited the first Amorphophallus titanum ever to bloom in California. It was only the 11th recorded bloom of one of these plants in the United States. During its short bloom, Huntington botanists hand-pollinated the plant with its own pollen, using an experimental technique (self-pollination is normally impossible). The procedure was a success resulting in fruit and 10 fertile seeds from which several seedlings eventually were produced.
 

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Two More Blooms: 2002 and 2009


A second flowering of the 1999 plant occurred in 2002. The 2009 bloom was an offset of one of the seedlings produced from the successful self-pollination of the 1999 bloom. 

 

 


 

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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