Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Botanical Bonanza

In a few days time the Cairns Botanic Gardens will host the opening of the giant Arum Titan, Amorphophallus titanum. This is a lily of truly gigantic proportions. The plant is not yet as advanced as the one below. From the ground to the tip of the spadix is well over 4 ft at present and it grows several inches per day.

And there are two of them getting ready to flower. It is hope that they will flower together so that some cross pollination will result in fertile seed.

Arum lilies have flowered in the gardens before and they have flowered elsewhere. The Sydney Botanic Gardens had a successful flowering in 2004.

This was the plant a couple of weeks ago.

The tip of the spadix has grown considerably and the bract dropped off today. It's now a question as to when it will open. The best guess is the end of the week or on the weekend.

Although the flower will be spectacular, it won't last more than a few days. During that time it will produce a foetid odour reminiscent of rotting meat. The pollinating agents are probably blowflies of the family Calliphoridae. We will keep close tabs on this phenomenon and report back on the pollinators, should they show up at the flower.

1 comment:

MB said...

I visited the Gardens today, the flower still hasn't opened...