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All about our Amorphophallus titanum

Amorphophallus titanium | Titum Arum | Corpse Flower
Nickname: Chauncy
  • A tropical plant discovered in 1878 in Sumatra, Indonesia.
  • Highly endemic meaning that they are only found in relatively small, restricted geographic areas
  • Can live up to 40 years and can get up to 3 meters (10 feet) tall
  • Titan arum belongs to the plant family Araceae or it is known Aroid with 170 species
    • Minnesota spring flower, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, is also an aroid.
  • LEAF
    • Produces one leaf at a time for several years, which lasts about a year before dying back and going dormant. Energy from photosynthesis is sent to the corm (modified stem) and when enough energy is harnessed will produce a flower.
  • INFLORESCENCE
    • Will last 24-48 hours makes the plant successful at attracting pollinators
    • No petals on these flowers, it is an inflorescence with a spade and spadix.
    • Largest non-branched INFLORESCENCE (a cluster of flowers) composed of two parts. The outer purple vase-like sheath is called the spathe. It protects the inner tube-like structure called the spadix, the small flowers are located on the spadix; there are hundreds of flowers hidden beneath the spathe.
    • The flowers are found inside this structure.
  • ODOR
    • Attracts pollinators and produces a produces an odor that resembles that of rotting flesh.
    • It warms itself up to temperatures, comparable to humans, to allow odor to volatilize. So the warmer it gets, the stinker it gets.
    • Gaseous odors created by disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide, which contain sulfur.
  • POLLINATED
    • By flies, carrion beetles, and sweat bees.
    • Red female flowers on the spadix (bottom) open first. Male flowers on the top open later and therefore they do not self-pollinate. Pollinators fly to the lower portion and pick up the pollen of the spadix and then crawl upward, move to a new titan arum starting at the bottom again where they cross-fertilize a second.
  • SEED
    • Spread by tropical hornbills.
  • HUMAN USES:
    • Corm and leaf stalks are boiled and eaten
    • Corms also used to treat stomach ailments, fever, swelling, and diarrhea
      • Amorphophallus titanum is toxic if not prepared properly, as it contains calcium oxalate crystals, that deter animals from eating it.

 


 2009 Jul;11(4):499-505. doi: 10.1111/j.1438-8677.2008.00147.x.
A torch in the rain forest: thermogenesis of the Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum).
Barthlott W1, Szarzynski JVlek PLobin WKorotkova N.