21 June 2012

Stinky giant plant can be experienced in bloom for the first time in Denmark

 Video: The film is in Danish only.

FLOWER SENSATION. In 2003, the Botanical Garden in Copenhagen was given a very special plant, Amorphophallus titanum, by the Bonn’s Botanical Garden. After nine years, the plant is now blooming, and this is the first time ever that anybody has managed to get the plant to bloom in Denmark. The public will now have a unique opportunity to follow the rare inflorescence that can grow to a height of three metres and has a very characteristic smell of carcasses when it opens.

An earlier stage of the very special plant Amorphophallus titanum in its right element in the Botanical Garden's Palm House. The last few days, the plant has grown up to 10 cm. per day. Photographer: Rasmus N. Abbey.
Click on the image to see it full size.

The plant is found in the Botanical Garden, Copenhagen (house one in the Palm House with mangrove/aquatic plants), where admission is free. The Palm House is extraordinarily open from 10:00-18:00 until the 27th of June.

The flowering lasts only a few days and is expected to occur at the end of this week, but in the days before and after the plant will undergo a very fascinating process which is also worth following. 

Like getting an Oscar

- I got the plant shortly after I began working in the Botanical Garden back in 2003, and ever since I have cared for it with great attention. It's a big surprise to me that it will flourish already now - as a greenhouse gardener it’s the closest thing to getting an Oscar, says greenhouse
gardener Rasmus N. Kloster, Botanical Garden.

The gigantic plant grows in Sumatra, Indonesia. It was discovered in 1878 by the Italian botanist and explorer Dr. Odoardo Beccari. The plant is known for its colossal inflorescence and especially its strong smell of carcasses. The stench has led to the flower being called the Corpse flower because it statably smells like rotten meat. The pungent smell is meant to attract pollinating insects, and if pollination is successful, the inflorescence will be filled with orange-red berries at the size of cherries.

Movie above: Around noon on the 21st of June 2012 Amorphophallus titanum began his amazing transformation and opened up in full bloom in approx. 12 hours in the Botanical Garden's Palm House. The time-lapse movie is composed of photos taken by 4-9 min. intervals which tells you something about how fast it happens.

Difficult to cultivate

Amorphophallus titanum is difficult to cultivate as it requires a very precise watering and an environment where there are high ceilings, high temperature and high humidity. It may be many years before the plant flowers, and the flowering lasts only a few days. The flower is only fully open the first 12 hours of flowering. In other countries, the flowering attracted much attention and many visitors.

Follow the flowering on this website and on The Natural History Museum's Facebook eller The Botanical Garden's Facebook where we will announce when the plant is in bloom.

The plant Amorphophallus titanum can be seen in the Botanical Garden's Palm House which also contains other rare tropical and subtropical plants. Photographer: Birgitte Rubæk.

Click on the image to see it in full size.