Saturday, May 5, 2012

a different corpse

There has been great anticipation all week. The world's largest flower was about to bloom! There are two Amorphophallus Titanum (aka Corpse Flower) or Titan Arum for short, in the Niagara Greenhouse that is now known as Niagara Floral Showhouse. Every day since Monday last week, the staff tried to give an estimate of when it possibly might open.

As in all things natural, it is not as predictable as one might wish. So, with a day off on Wednesday, I headed off down the peninsula to Niagara Falls to have a look because I thought I wouldn't have time to go back until next Monday and by then it might be too late. This thing only blooms for a couple of days once it has opened. It also grows by inches every day and was, as of Wednesday, up to 93.5" - that is 8'!!

Sadly, it was showing no signs of opening when I got there. They started charging an entrance fee in March but it was only $5 and for an extra $5 you got a seasons pass, so I thought that seemed a good deal, and I may just want to go back.....

Here is my photo of the flower (nicknamed Morphy by the staff) with it's friend in the back at a paltry 35"

with a closer view......

The plant is exceedingly rare and this one will be only the 22nd to ever bloom in a greenhouse. Apparently they can be dormant for years and years without blooming. And since they are indigenous to Sumatra are not widely seen by many people. The two bulb like structures, called corms, were donated to the Niagara Parks Commission by someone in New Hampshire and each weighed 150kg.

Then, by Friday, the smaller of the two plants had a sudden growth spurt and grew a staggering 6 inches after a 5 inch growth the day before

photo from NPC website
The greenhouse has extended its hours to 9:30 PM in honour of the blooming, to accommodate as many people as possible who wish to see it.

Then, just in time for the weekend, and around 10PM on Friday night it opened!

Photo from NPC website

The smell, which has been described as like rotting meat, is apparently at its worst during the first few hours. So most people - including the poor staff at the front desk - will miss that rare peculiarity.

Maybe I will be able to catch the second flowering.

13 comments:

  1. I've heard the smell is atrocious. Now who was it again who thought bringing one of these to Canada was a GOOD idea?

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    1. but it is a once in a lifetime experience (or in this case maybe twice if titan #2 also blooms) and anyway, the smell doesn't last long.....

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  2. Smell or no, I would be there in a heartbeat. I started hearing about these plants 2-3 years ago and missed the blooming of the one in, I think, the Berkeley Arboritum. Still, I keep it on my bucket list. Who knows.

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    1. oh, I am so glad to hear this!!
      I was thinking I was a little nuts to be driving 45 minutes just to see/smell this flower. I may go back tomorrow, even if I dread Niagara Falls on a weekend - maybe later in the day won't be so busy?

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    2. That's really an amazing flower, even with the disgusting smell.

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  3. The smell is to attract flies which will then pollinate the plants. Are they sure there are flies about ot do they do that by hand?

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    1. you know, I was wondering about that, too. i will have to ask when I am back there - last time I was to overwhelmed by the sight of it to think of it's purpose in the cycle of life.

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  4. That is fascinating. Sometimes you gotta wonder what the point of these plants actually is...

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  5. Wow!! That is incredible! I have never heard of this flower, but it looks just amazing. And even the rotting-meat smell adds to its interest, or its peculiarity. Really cool!

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  6. Quite an amazing flower! is it as big as the Rafflesia, though? In Rafflesia arnoldii, the flower may be over 100 centimetres (39 in) in diameter, and weigh up to 10 kilograms (22 lb).

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  7. I am heading back down that way tomorrow, so will give another report.

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