Thursday, 27 December 2012

RARE FLOWER IN THE BOTANIC GARDENS

Amorphophallus titanum (titan arum) has a massive inflorescence (flowering structure) consisting of a spathe (collar-like structure) wrapped around a spadix (flower-bearing spike). The spathe is the shape of an upturned bell. It is green speckled with cream on the outside, and rich crimson on the inside. It has ribbed sides and a frilled edge, and can be up to three metres in circumference. The flowers are carried on the lower end of the greyish-yellow spadix. At the base of the spadix, within the protective chamber formed by the spathe, is a band of cream male flowers above a ring of the larger pink female flowers.

When the flowers are ready for pollination, the spadix heats up and emits a nauseating smell. This stench is so bad that the Indonesians call the plant ‘the corpse flower’. The inflorescence rises from a tuber, a swollen underground stem modified to store food for the plant. This tuber, more or less spherical in shape and weighing 70 kg or more, is the largest such structure known in the plant kingdom.

The titan arum of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens flowered at Christmas this year and attracted thousands of people who queued for hours in order to see this amazing flower. Amorphophallus titanum is restricted to Sumatra in the Indonesian archipelago. Such is the unpredictable nature of the plant that we cannot tell whether it will be months, years or even decades before we next see a titan arum flower in the Gardens.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Signs, Signs meme.







12 comments:

  1. That was a rare and beautiful flower!

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  2. What a gorgeous flower, Nick! Love the colors! Beautiful garden and place to visit! Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!!

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  3. An amazing looking flower! I even saw it on the news! How often does a single flower rank as a news item!

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  4. Another extraordinary flower - I trust you used a zoom lens for that last shot (or chose to wear a mask to filter the "fragrance"!!)

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  5. I saw about this on the news and wonderful that you could get there to see it for yourself. I have a Kew Botanic Gardens DVD and it documents one of the same, very interesting. Especially liked the second last image showing up the wonderful textured pleats in those huge petals. Well done Nick!

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  6. Wonderful shots. Quite a queue.

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  7. Pretty but stinky, not a good combo.

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  8. Well done Nick. You got some super shots. I like the fifth one the best. You did to capture it sans crowds. I had the same thought but the days events got in the way. Bravo.

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  9. Wow! Amazing flower! Happy New Year!

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  10. Really this flower is rarest of rares... Also quite beautiful one... Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures!!! Rare Flower Melbourne

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