A stunning Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum), also known as Corpse Flower or Bunga Bangkai, is blooming in Melbourne – at around 2.6 metres, it is the tallest ever plant of its type ever recorded in Australia.
The plant gives off a distinct aroma of rotting meat to attract pollinators such as flies and beetles and is native to the rain forests of Sumatra in Indonesia. This one is the third to bloom in the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens in three years.
The Gardens have five of the plants.
“To have a third bloom in three years is a credit to our highly skilled Nursery staff, and a rather attractive (if smelly) feather in the cap for Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens,” said Tim Entwisle, the Gardens’ director and chief executive.
“I want us to grow more plants like the Titan Arum – rare, fascinating and fun – in a brand new Glasshouse to display them at their finest. To this end, we’re asking visitors to part with a gold coin or two donation to help us make this a reality.”
The plant is vulnerable to deforestation and listed as endangered.
The Gardens run a popular science seminar series. You can find more information here.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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