Monster Plant About To Bloom With Putrid Smell

Submitted by edg on Fri, 28 Jul '17 7.28pm

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RGBE) is getting ready for an almighty whiff of decomposing flesh as its super smelly Amorphophallus titanum (titan arum) comes into bloom.

The monster plant, which grows up to 10cms a day, first flowered in 2015 (see time lapse video below) and is expected to bloom again in early August. The RGBE is planning on opening late on the first night of the blooming.

In its native jungle the putrid smell of rotten flesh attracts carrion beetles, the plant's natural pollinators. Scientists at RGBE are trying to establish how "New Reekie 2" (as it has been dubbed by RGBE) produces its rotting flesh smell and why "corpse" plants around the world are flowering at the same time.

When it was gifted to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2003 by Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, Netherlands, the corm was just the size of a small orange. In 2010, after 7 years of growing, it weighed in at 153.9kgs, the heaviest ever recorded.

Since then the Amorphophallus titanum has doubled in size and is now too big to move from its home in the Lowland Tropics glasshouse.

To keep abreast of the bloom, you can follow on its personal Twitter account.

Plant Art Exhibition

The RGBE is also hosting a free exhibition of plant art from tomorrow (29th July) to 29th October entitled Plant Scenery of the World.

It features, among other art, a triptych of work of the Amorphophallus titanum by botanical artists, Sharon Tingey, Işık Güner and Jacqui Pestell.

Plant Scenery of the World celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Botanics’ large glasshouses opening to house plants collected in tropical, temperate, rainforest and arid lands by Scottish explorers.

The exhibition, part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, is at Inverleith House.