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Corpse Flower Set to Bloom in Michigan

Submitted by on July 11, 2018 – 8:44 amNo Comment

Amorphophallus titanum Special to Road Trips for Gardeners
From Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

A rare Amorphophallus titanum expected to reach peak bloom between tomorrow and Saturday (July 12-14, 2018), in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservancy of the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, 1000 East Beltline Avnue NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Lovingly named “Putricia” by the Meijer Gardens horticulture staff, the corpse flower -– also called titan arum -– is one of the largest and rarest flowering plants in the world. It can take up to a decade to produce a flowering structure, and when it blooms is open for only 24 to 36 hours.

The name “corpse flower “comes from the nauseating smell that the plant emits when it opens. This feature attracts carrion beetles and flies that are the natural pollinators of Amorphophallus titanum. The plant was first reported in Sumatra, Indonesia, in 1878. Its distinctive odor attracts pollinators that feed on dead animals and is at its most pungent during peak bloom.

Amorphophallus titanum is the largest unbranched inflorescence (a cluster of flowers on a spike) in the plant kingdom, growing up to 12 feet tall in its natural habitat and about six to eight feet tall in cultivation. Although the enormous plant in bloom resembles one giant flower, it actually comprises a fleshy central spike called a spadix that holds two rings of male and female flowers, wrapped by the frilly spathe, a modified leaf that resembles a petal.

“As a professional horticulturist, this is incredibly exciting,” said Steve LaWarre, Director of Horticulture at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. “Many people go through their entire careers never seeing an example like this in person. We are thrilled that something that we started as a seedling here at Meijer Gardens 18 years ago is coming into bloom.”

The 158-acre main campus of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park includes a tropical conservatory, interactive children’s gardens, arid and Victorian gardens, a carnivorous plant house, and outdoor gardens.

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