Our titan arum has bloomed

Thank to everyone who visited and followed along with Uncle Fester’s journey.

Titan arum or corpse flower is the largest flower on earth and is notorious for unleashing the smell of rotten flesh when it blooms!

Our corpse flower, named Uncle Fester, began opening up on the evening of July 15 and fully opened overnight. The spathe started closing on the afternoon of July 15 and the spadix collapsed on July 19. 

We've moved Uncle Fester off-site for the vegetative growth phase and will bring it back to the conservatory for the next bloom.

It was the first to bloom publicly in BC

Titan arum blooms are very rare and unpredictable. Most plants take seven to ten years to store enough energy to bloom for the first time. Our titan arum bloomed for the first time in July 2018 at approximately six years old.

The titan arum life cycle

The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) also known as corpse flower, is native to rainforests on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. It has the largest known corm in the world. The corm can grow up to 200 pounds!

Each year, it produces a leaf, reaching up to 15 feet, to absorb energy from the sun. Once the corm has enough energy to produce a flower bud and attempt to reproduce, a visual event unfolds.

Its enormous flower spike, reaching up to 12 feet, is the largest flower structure in the plant kingdom. The flower spike is wrapped with a frilly, modified leaf called a spathe.

When the titan is ready to bloom, the spathe unfolds, exposing small flowers that bloom in rings around its base that release scent molecules to signal their readiness for fertilization. 

Learn more about the titan arum life cycle by the Chicago Botanic Garden  (3 MB)

Growth chart

Date Height (inches)
June 2 3"
June 6 6"
June 8 7"
June 10 8"
June 12 9"
June 15 11"
June 17 12"
June 20 14"
June 22 16"
June 24 18"
June 27 23"
June 29 28"
July 1 34"
July 2 37"
July 3 41"
July 4 45"
July 5 49"
July 6 53"
July 7 56"
July 9  63"
July 11 71"

Why it's known as a corpse flower

When the titan arum blooms, it emits a powerful stench similar to rancid or rotten meat. The scent and the deep-red flesh colour of the open spathe, attracts pollinator insects that feed on dead animals.

During full bloom, the spadix self-heats to approximately human body temperature, which helps disseminate these odor particles.

Media contact

Emily Schultz

emily.schultz@vancouver.ca
604-375-4962

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