Sunday, March 22, 2015

Amorphophallus titanum aka Titan Arum 2015. The worlds largest inflorescence of flowers

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Titan Arum 2015

In late 2012 I heard news from the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne regarding the worlds largest inflorescence of flowers the mighty Amorphophallus titanum. I got to see it before it unfurled its beautiful spathe but missed out on seeing it fully opened by one day as I had to leave to go on vacation the day before (poor me). This time however I was in Melbourne for the grand opening. It only stays open and in great shape in terms of both structure and scent (carrion attracting) for a few days so you need to be quick if you want to see and smell it at its best.

The Titan Arum as I saw it in 2012 with the spathe still closed. Click the link below for the blog entry on the 2012 Titan Arum and for general information about the plant itself

One thing I found surprising upon my arrival at the tropical greenhouse was the amount of people there to see it. There was literally a roped off line up and 15 minute wait to to get in. I'd been getting a bit disheartened regarding gardening and plants in Melbourne. The trend away from spacious gardens and towards larger houses which seem to fill up almost every square metre of land had me thinking people are not interested in plants to level they used to be. It was reassuring to see the enthusiastic curiosity the general population seemed to have for this plant. Maybe there is hope still for urban gardens in Melbourne's future.

Below is the inflorescence in all its glory. It maxed out at 263 in height which breaks the Australian record and is also higher than the ones grown at the famous Kew gardens. For the record, yes the plant did smell quite foul.

The remnants of the line up. At this point they were turning people away as they were about to shut the hot house for the day. When I arrived the line was almost snaking all the way to the end of the roped off area.