Trick or Treat!
Facts & Folkore:
Also known as the titan arum, this flowering plant has the largest unbranched inflorescence (flower cluster) in the world!
Due to its odor, which is like the smell of a rotting animal, the titan arum is characterized as a carrion flower.
Amorphophallus titanum is native solely to western Sumatra where it grows in openings in rainforests on limestone hills. The plant is cultivated by botanic gardens and private collectors around the world.
In cultivation, the titan arum generally requires 7–10 years of vegetative growth before blooming for the first time. As the flower gradually opens, it releases powerful odors to attract pollinators, insects which feed on dead animals or lay their eggs in rotting meat. The potency of the odor (aroma) gradually increases from late evening until the middle of the night, when carrion beetles and flesh flies are active as pollinators, then tapers off towards morning.
For those with a strong stomach, read on: Analyses of chemicals released by the spadix show the “stench” includes dimethyl trisulfide (like limburger cheese), dimethyl disulfide, trimethylamine (rotting fish), isovaleric acid (sweaty socks), benzyl alcohol (sweet floral scent), phenol (like Chloraseptic), and indole (like excrement).
Interestingly, corpse plants cultivated in conservatories are all given a special name. The Corpse Flower in the University of California Berkeley Conservatory is named "Trudy'.
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