Ready, Stinky…. Go!

This is all about the stinky smell of success. You may well be thinking that it’s a sweet smell of success? Normally you would be right… But this time the smell you get is NOT sweet by ANY stretch of the imagination!

At Paignton Zoo in the UK, they have a wonderful (I use that word sparingly!) specimen of the Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) flower. Those of you that don’t know what this is you can read the Wikipedia page on it. Very basically its a VERY BIG tropical plant that likes to attract a different type of pollinator than the norm. When it does flower… It stinks… Oh boy does it stink! The plant is also known as the “Corpse flower”, and for good reason! It has a horrifying stench that attracts carrion-eating beetles and flies. But as normal there is a Bee for every occasion, sweat bees in this one!

I would recommend that you watch this excellent short vid by the BBC (The Private Life of Plants).

The really stinky Titan Arum

In other respects it’s actually quite a good-looking, if unusual, plant. Its big too, not as big as an English Oak, but still. 3m tall for the flower and 6m for the leaf is nothing to be sniffed at (Ba-Dum TISH!). The plant itself is really not at all easy to grow and as such is rare outside of its natural habitat although specimens have been cultivated with a degree of success. This means that although rare, it’s becoming more common, but don’t expect it to start appearing in your local Homebase anytime soon!

The vegetative stage of the Titan arum

You also have to be quick to catch it. Its blooms for only 12-24 hours (Although it has been known to be longer). That’s up to 10 years worth of energy storage in the vegetative stage to grow a flower that will only last about a day. Yes folks, this is another example of nature giving a two finger salute to the norm.

Nature is awesome. Never forget this.

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