Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum)

Watch the time lapse of the corpse flower bloom at Bloedel in 2018  

2021 growth chart

Date Height (inches)
July 1 Bud emerges, 1"
July 6 4"
July 11 7"
July 22 15"
July 26 21"
July 28 25.5"
July 30 29.5"
August 1 34"
August 3 40"
August 5 47"
August 7 53"
August 9 59"
August 11 64"
August 13 69"
August 14 70"
August 15 71.5"
August 16 73"
August 18 73"

Uncle Fester returns to Bloedel Conservatory

Uncle Fester, our Amorphophallus titanum, commonly known as titan arum or corpse flower, bloomed for the second time on August 18, 2021 and collapsed on August 23, 2021.

Titan arum blooms are unpredictable and very rare. As a spike emerges from the corm after the dormant phase, it is almost impossible to tell if the titan arum will leaf or flower. The characteristics of the inflorescence (group of flowers) and leaf bud are very similar. On August 2, 2021, the spadix emerged which confirmed that Uncle Fester would flower.

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 is classified as "endangered" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened plants. Fewer than 1,000 plants remain in the wild. 

Most years, 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 will unfold.

An enormous flower spike – or spadix – will emerge, wrapped with a frilly, modified leaf called a spathe. The Amorphophallus titanum is one of the largest and rarest flowering structures in the world. 

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)

Know before you go

  • Tickets must be booked online in advance for a designated time slot.
  • Masks are recommended indoors. Please respect others' personal space.
  • The pathway around the conservatory is a one-way route.
  • Please arrive five minutes before your time slot so you can enjoy your full booking period.
  • The Bloedel Conservatory is livestreaming the corpse flower event. Your image may be included in the livestream Youtube video capturing the corpse flower when you visit the Bloedel Conservatory. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the City's Privacy Office by phoning 3-1-1 or emailing privacy@vancouver.ca.

Watch Uncle Fester's 2019 leaf time lapse

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 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

Park Board communications
pb.communications@vancouver.ca

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