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ok so a quick lesson on the weird physiology of this species:

this is Amorphophallus titanum. it’s not the largest flower in the world, but actually the largest unbranched flower structure. this is because this isn’t actually one flower, but hundreds; the actual flowers are super tiny and simple male and female structures nested deep in the “flower” you see here! (x)(x)

closeup of the flowers (male on top, female on bottom):

the fruits will look like this when its all done blooming! (x) (x)

full life cycle from the botany department at the university of Wisconsin Madison (i got to see a couple of their plants in their non-flowering phases when i visited; they have their largest and oldest one named Bucky, and a few younger plants that they grew from his fruits):

Usually, the fruits are given to conservatories and colleges for study and endless admiration, but they’ve become more advanced hobbyists in recent years! All in all, it’s most important for those growing it to help make sure as many of its fruits as possible make it into the ground, so the species will be with us for many years to come. 

some more facts:

-on average, the tuber weighs about 110 pounds. the one blooming at CC right now is actually kind of small, at around 40 pounds (it’s kind of a young plant at only 10 years old, and its only her first bloom!)

-the largest tuber is currently being grown by a surgeon in New Hampshire. it’s 305 pounds. this plant also has the record for the largest bloom so far; when it last bloomed in 2010, it was 10 feet, 2 inches tall. for scale, Audrey is a 5 foot, 5 inch bloom. i know ur dying to see the 10 foot tall one so here:

-after the first bloom, its kind of up to the plant as to when it’ll bloom again. some bloom after another 7-10 years, some bloom every 3, and a few individuals pulled back-to-back blooms a few years ago and it was a big deal. 

-at this point, the population of this species in captivity has increased so there’s an average of five or so blooms in the entire world each year. 

-did i mention that they reek like rotting flesh when they bloom to attract their pollinators, which are flies and beetles? bc they do that btw

-there have been cases of a single tuber sending up a couple blooms at once, and one case so far of a tuber having multiple blooms at once:

-i’ve talked on here about how weird petioles are. well, the vegetative phase of the titan arum actually is one single leaf with many leaflets, like so:

-self-pollination is rare, but it can be done with the proper procedures:

-Audrey is tied for the fourth one to bloom this year, after Java and Sumatra at the Chicago Botanical Gardens in May, Terra at the San Fransisco Conservatory of Flowers earlier this month, and Titus at Cambridge University, who bloomed at the same time as Audrey yesterday! they are all good babies and i am proud of all of them

-also yes most of these plants in captivity have have names and i should make a masterpost of them so you guys know what to name ur first born child after

-i’ve mentioned this on this blog before but i’m doing it again. they heat up to 90 degrees during bloom

tl;dr: these are good big stinky jungle babies and i love them and want to see one bloom in person one day

also, Audrey is on a live stream here if you want to see her!


Why does no one ever mention that their scientific name essentially translates to “giant malformed phallus”? Because I feel that is a fun fact worth mentioning.

The Pacific Science Center has a much smaller relative currently growing in the butterfly house!


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