The amazing design of plants and the power of scent!
On the surface you may just think plants / flowers are there just as a decorating tool to the countryside, which can also be enjoyed in our homes, but if you look further, the life of plants can be a complicated mix of perfect design and biology, built specifically for various purposes.
There are plants which neither look pretty nor have a scent to make you rush out and buy their perfume, but rather make you run the other way!
The wonderfully named ‘Corpse Flower’ is quite a sensation in the plant world, with horticulturists and plant lovers lining up to see this mysterious plant when it rarely flowers, even if it’s in the middle of the night, as it did recently, at a Washington University Biology Department.
Plants will do anything to attract their target pollinators, and if that means looking a bit rough around the edges and smelling of decaying mammals ‘oh how lovely’ that’s what they do.
The first recorded time that the Corpse Flower also known as the Titan Arum and Carrion Flower, successfully flowered in cultivation, was at our own Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in 1889. Kew Gardens have been growing their collection of species of Titan Arum, so opportunities to see one flowering are increasing so watch their website if you fancy catching a glimpse. The Eden Project in Cornwall also has one, which most recently flowered earlier this month.
Here are some amazing facts about this plant:
- It can take up to 6 years to flower from seed if grown in perfect conditions.
- Flowering is difficult to plan for as the plant is unpredictable.
- It usually only flowers for 2 – 3 days at a time, so blink and you have missed it.
- It grows in the rainforests in Sumatra on the side of steep hills.
- It can reach 3 m in height
- It produces berries – but don’t think of trying them as they are potentially very harmful or even deadly!
- It is on the list of vulnerable plants
- In 1926 the draw of this plant’s flowers caused such a stir at Kew Gardens that they had to call the police, as crowds got out of hand!
If you are sad that you missed out on being knocked out by the stench of this plant, keep your eyes peeled for the next flowering. Make sure you get your ticket, as they are sure to sell out fast!
- The Corpse Flower Blooms on the Big Island of Hawaii (damontucker.com)
- A pretty, big stink. (maps101blog.com)
- Titan Arum, Stinky ‘Corpse Flower,’ Set To Bloom At UConn (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Blooming Corpse Flower Causes Stink, Draws Crowds (livescience.com)
- 7 Wonders of the Plant World: Bizarre Blooms (webecoist.com)
- What’s stinking? Oh the world’s smelliest flower! (news.bioscholar.com)
- Giant rare bloom about ready to stink up the place at OSU greenhouse (dispatch.com)
- Chinese ‘Corpse Flower’ Finds a Mate in the U.K. (news.sciencemag.org)
- “Stinking Flower Blooms” and related posts (weeklyworldnews.com)
- Swiss flock to watch giant stinking flower bloom (sfgate.com)
to our weekly updates.
Never miss another post (and get exclusive subscriber only content)