Amorphophallus titanium | Titum Arum | Corpse Flower
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Plant Biol (Stuttg). 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 J, Vlek P, Lobin W, Korotkova N.