by Deb Shaw
Bud of the quickly-growing Amorphophallus titanum, (Titan Arum, or Corpse Flower). Courtesy of The Huntington.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is hosting their fifth bloom of Amorphophallus titanum, the Titan Arum, or “Corpse Flower.” Renowned for its magnificent size and exceptionally foul odor, the Amorphophallus titanum flower can grow to be more than six feet tall, with a diameter of three to four feet.
The Huntington’s first “Big Stinky” bloomed in 1999; since then, they have had three more blooms, in 2002, 2009, and 2010. Native to Sumatra, the flowering of a Amorphophallas titanum is unpredictable and rare; the plant can go for years without blooming. Once the bud opens, the blossom is fleeting, lasting only one to three days.
Experts are now predicting the flower will open sometime around August 20 – 23. (The inflorescence grew 3.5 inches yesterday alone!)
Follow the flower’s progress and learn more about it on The Huntington’s website page, “Stinky 5: Return of the Corpse Flower,” or on The Huntington’s Instagram or Twitter. A video of the original blooming in 1999, narrated by Jim Folsom, is now on Tumblr and YouTube.
A prior bloom of Amorphophallus titanum. The inflorescence can grow to be more than 6 ft tall, with a diameter of 3 – 4 ft across. Photo courtesy of The Huntington.