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Adelaide’s Rare Corpse Flower has bloomed and now its beautiful leaves are on display

After a much-anticipated wait, it’s that time again, Adelaide Botanic Gardens Corpse Flower has uncoiled, after a long wait.

It’s that time again, the Botanic Garden’s Corpse Flower has uncoiled, after a long wait.

One of the world’s largest flowers, famous for a stench likened to rotting flesh, mouldy cheese and sweaty feet, has bloomed in a behind-the-scenes nursery, and is now drawing crowds to the Adelaide Botanic Garden’s Amazon Waterlily Pavilion to see the leaf-form of the plant.

After a much-anticipated wait by the Garden’s Horticultural Curator, the Corpse Flower bloomed in December last year and has since wilted.

Famous for giving visitors a whiff when on display, the pungent Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), which is normally found in the rainforests of Sumatra, is only pungent for 48 hours whilst blooming before the flowers wilt.

The leaves on display in the Amazon Waterlily Pavilion, facemasks are required inside where it’s on display, but you can also view it from outside the building which has glass walls.

The last flower on public display was in October 2018, well before COVID was here, and drew crowds of more than 10,000 people.

The rare and endangered plant bloomed overnight and into the morning of 29 December 2021. When Adelaide Botanic Gardens horticultural curator, Matt Coulter, was able to witness this striking 2.02m inflorescence unfurl and bloom – a botanical event that happens rarely, and with little notice.

To ensure public safety at this challenging time, the inflorescence was not shown publicly. However, you can currently see a large display of this remarkable plant in its leaf-only form at Adelaide Botanic Garden.

The unique display showcases the plant at different stages of leaf growth, with the tree-like plants shooting upwards at a rate of knots – on some days 10-15cm per day!

The tall sibling isn’t a tree, but a Titan Arum leaf and leaflets. It shoots up these tall leaves each year to harness the energy which it sends to the corm below. When the corm has enough energy, it will produce a flowering plant…but this can take up to 10 years to happen. 

A donation to help the Gardens’ conservation work for this rare and threatened species is appreciated, or visitors can donate to the cause online.

A donation to help the Gardens’ conservation work for this rare and threatened species is appreciated, or visitors can donate to the cause online.

Amorphophallus titanium is located in the Amazon Waterlily Pavilion at the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Entry is free and the Gardens are open daily from 7:15 am

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