Titan Arum: Part One

Have you seen the ‘Corpse Flower’? Earlier this year in our summer, at the end of Jan/early Feb, an Amorphophallus titanum at the Dunedin Botanic Garden flowered – much to the excitement of Nigel and I! We popped into the glasshouse every chance we could to see its progress and it flowered JUST before we were scheduled to move house to Gore on the 5th of February. Nigel took the last photos of the fully open flower on 04 Feb.

** Click on any of the photos below to view larger-size version **

The following two photos were taken on 29 January and the outer sheath is coming away from the flower.



I have read that Amorphophallus titanum translates as “giant mis-shapen penis”.

The next photo was taken the following day, 30 January 2018 …


– the outer sheath had completely fallen away, leaving a clean stem.

Indonesians call the plant ‘the corpse flower’ due to the terrible stench when the flower is ready for pollination.

According to the Eden Project this is “the largest flowering structure (inflorescence) on Earth, growing up to three metres tall” (link below).

Next photo: This information was displayed early on before it was known whether the bud sprouting up from the tuber would be a flower OR a leaf. This was a matter of much speculation in the early stage!

Here you can see what a bud can grow into – click on photo to enlarge.


The tuber can weigh more than 75kg and from Kew Science (link below) I found that a tuber had been re-potted at Kew in the winter of 2004 “which weighed an astonishing 91kg”.

  • To be continued …


Kew Science | Plants of the World Online Amorphophallus titanum

Eden Project | Titan arum

Text by Liz and Photos by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2018)

26 thoughts on “Titan Arum: Part One

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  1. You would have thought the Latin name would have described the corpse-like stench, rather than the giant other! But I guess somebody was using their eyes and imagination more than their nose and sense of smell at the time! Fascinating plant, Liz, and fascinating information!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you hear that one of these is going to be flowering in a Botanic Garden near you somewhere, it’s well worth visiting. Its only fully open for a very short time, just a day or two I think. And prior to the actual opening, its like as shown above. Grows very, very fast.


    1. I’ve enjoyed preparing these posts as it was an amazing experience to see this awesome plant! The other plant you refer to, I think its a tuberous begonia which come in single and double forms. They’re grown a lot in glasshouses down south here but you should look into them because its likely you can grow them oudoors where you are – how wonderful that would be! They have a huge array of wonderful colours. You could start at this link – I did a quick search on tuberous begonia and looked at this page but there’s plenty other pages you could look at too … http://www.thegardenhelper.com/reiger.html

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I bet! The size alone and the speed it goes through this process is rather exotic.

        Ah, I had a feeling geranium was the wrong thing, but got stuck on that! I actually grew tuberous begonias in the north for a few years ages ago.The tuber had to be overwintered inside which I didn’t have much luck with. I’ll have to check into how they manage here as they sure are gorgeous when they are in a happy place!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Benjamin and I are captivated by the Corpse Flower. How fortunate that Nigel and you had the opportunity to watch the unveiling of it’s secret. I neglected to share the translation of the Latin with him, I don’t think the parental units would want it repeated…and he would! We are off to visit the links that you so kindly included. Thank-you x 2!!

    Liked by 1 person

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