Hopes for Titan Arum Plant to Bloom at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens

WATCH LIVE: Corpse Flower

 Horticulture Supervisor Dan Erwin holds the corm of the NCG Titan Arum plant in April 2018

Horticulture Supervisor Dan Erwin holds the corm of the NCG Titan Arum plant in April 2018

ROCKFORD, IL – Visitors at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens may soon see the fascinating Titan Arum plant in bloom.

Also known as the corpse flower, this Indonesian plant has a distinct smell of rotting flesh and burnt sugar when it opens. Despite this, the corpse flower is a must-see for any plant enthusiast. The plant flowers every 7-20 years, and the bloom only lasts 24-48 hours. The corpse flower is also notable for being the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s tallest recorded bloom (10 feet 2.25 inches) and the world’s largest recorded corm (339.29 pounds).

The plant at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens was donated by the Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, CA in 2011. The 66-pound corm was re-potted on April 3, 2018. When it was previously re-potted in July 2016, it weighed 21 pounds. “Titan Arums typically bloom once the corm reaches 30 pounds, so we are hopeful this is the year,” says Horticulture Supervisor Dan Erwin.

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Generally, gardens and conservatories will name their Titan Arum once it begins to bloom. Nicholas Conservatory is now taking name submissions for the plant via a drop box at the Conservatory, and on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NicholasConservatory.

Keep updated on the plant’s bloom progress by visiting the Conservatory’s Facebook page. Regular admission rates for Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens apply to see the plant.

Fast Facts
•    The plant’s Latin name is Amorphophallus titanum.
•    The species was discovered in 1878 by Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari.
•    The first Titan Arum bloom in the U.S. was in 1937 at the New York Botanical Gardens.
•    The Corpse Flower was the Bronx’s official flower from 1939 until 2000. It was changed to the daylily so people would not get the unintended message that the Bronx stinks.
•    The flower’s smell helps attract flesh flies and carrion beetles, which pollinate the flower while they look for rotting meat.
•    The plant is listed as Vulnerable (V) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.