One of the world’s largest flowers, famous for a stench likened to rotting flesh, will be on display tomorrow at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden in what’s believed to be a South Australian first.
The Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) – found in the rainforests of Sumatra – is commonly known as the Corpse Flower, and it can grow up to three metres tall.
The flower’s height, combined with a giant yellow phallic spike (spadix), burgundy upturned skirt (spathe) and that nauseating smell, has turned the Titan arum into a rockstar of the plant world, and a major boon for botanic gardens who manage to get the endangered plant to flower.
Horticultural Curator of Plant Propagation, Matt Coulter, said the Gardens sourced the seed through a donation in 2006 and the Titan arum’s flowering was a thrilling prospect.
“Flowering events are rare because the plant is so difficult to cultivate, even in optimum conditions,” Mr Coulter said.
“The fact the flower, and its signature stench, will only last around 48 hours before it collapses on itself, makes it a must-see event for plant lovers and curious souls alike.”
Botanic Gardens acting director Janice Goodwins said having a Titan arum – which are threatened by deforestation in the wild – set to bloom is a credit to the Gardens’ passionate, persistent and expert staff.
“The Titan arum really is one of the world’s most fascinating plants, and we’re ecstatic the South Australian public have the opportunity to see it,” Ms Goodwins said.
“Visitors will gain an appreciation of the wonder of nature, and for the important work being done by botanic gardens to help conserve vulnerable plants around the world.”
The flower began to bloom today so the decision has been made to open the Nursery to the public between 10am and 3pm on Tuesday 29 December in light of forecasted high temperatures later in the week, which will likely force the closure of Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. The Nursery will also open on Wednesday 30 December unless the Garden is closed due to the fire danger rating.
Visitors are advised to go to the Garden’s Lower Entrance (enter via Lampert Road), park in the Lower Carpark and follow the signs along the dam wall to the Nursery (approximately a one-kilometre round-trip).
Visit the Botanic Gardens of South Australia’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for imagery and updates throughout the Titan arum’s flowering.