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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-31-08 08:34 PM
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Corpse flower's steamy film scenes revealing
Ron Sullivan,Joe Eaton
Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We're not on a first-name basis with many plants; most of the exceptions are titan arums.

We've met UC Davis' Ted the Titan and bought the T-shirt. By chance, we stopped by the UC Botanical Garden last summer, when its titan arum Odora was just past her peak, but still reeking.

The garden had an encore a few weeks later with Odoardo, for Odoardo Beccari, who, in 1878, was the first European scientist to encounter the plant in its Sumatran jungle home. Beccari called it a "marvel," noting that the flower "had to be lashed to a long pole, the ends of which were placed on the shoulders of two men." Individual plants have both male and female flowers, so namers needn't be picky about gender.

The personification is fitting, in a way. Amorphophallus (yes, that means what you think it means) titanum is the undisputed superstar of the aroid family, which also includes taro, skunk cabbage, philodendrons and anthuriums. Botanical gardens worldwide pamper titan specimens like pedigreed show dogs. During their blooming period, some titans have their own blogs and Webcams.

Their flowering is a spectacle for the eyes - the inflorescence can reach a height of 11 feet - and the nose. It's not for nothing that Sumatrans call it bunga bangkai, or corpse flower. The smell has been described as "perhaps the most powerful and disgusting odor produced by any plant"; British botanist Joseph Hooker was reminded of "a mixture of rotting fish and burnt sugar." To the scavenging beetles that pollinate the titan, it smells like dinner. Although they go away hungry, they deliver pollen to the next flower that attracts them.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-31-08 09:04 PM
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1. So that's what was wrong with the corsage I gave my
high school prom date. Dang! :dunce:
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-31-08 09:14 PM
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2. Best pic I've ever seen of the plant. Thanks!
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