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Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney - Titan Arum

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Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
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Sydney is blessed with one of the world's great botanic gardens, set in a scenic harbour location, that makes it a must see for tourist and locals alike. With it's sweeping lawns, it's variety of trees, water features and harbour, meandering pathways, shady nooks and cranny's, the garden offers a haven to relax in.

Now there is even more to enjoy as a member of 'The Friends of the Gardens'. Membership offers a way to be involved with not only just the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, but also Mount Tomah and Mount Annan. As a member you will have access to all that's happening in the three Gardens and you will be a valued supporter of this great institution.

Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum)Sydney was witnessed to a most anticipated arrival, when after years of tender care, the Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) finally flowered. Being the first time to have ever flowered in Sydney, the plant has the largest and most probably the smelliest flower in the world.

Found in the rainforest of western Sumatera in Indonesia, the Botanic Gardens Trust is collaborating with the Indonesian Botanic Gardens to cultivate the species which is endangered in its natural habitat.

What's in a Name?
Known as the Titan Arum, its full scientific name is Amorphophallus titanum, meaning ‘huge deformed penis’. Its Indonesian common name is bunga bangkai, translated to mean ‘corpse flower’.

How big is it?
The Titan Arum looks like a small tree. It is however a single leaf with a ‘trunk-like’ leaf stalk and lots of leaflets. This leaf lives for over a year before finally dying. The Titan Arum’s storage root, or ‘tuber’, then enters a short dormant period before producing another leaf. The tuber can stay dormant for a period of 1 to 3 years. When the tuber is big enough, it will then flower, with the flower in full bloom not lasting more than 2 to 3 days. During a 40 year lifespan, the plant only flowers 2 to 3 times.

When the flower is fully open, it gets hot and gives off a scent that has been described as something like rotting flesh or fish that has gone off. The smell is strongest at night, where in its native environment, it attracts the carrion beetles and sweat bees. These insects are lured by the odour and heat, where they climb down into the funnel-shaped blossom and then depart laden with pollen, to seek another plant and another flower, helping to spread the pollen and perpetuating the species.

The flower structure grows about 10 cm (4 inches) a day, with the spadix reaching a height of anywhere between 2 and 2.9 metres (7 to 12 feet). The flower itself can have a diameter of about 1.33 metres (4 feet).

Source: Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney - Titan Arum 

Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - Leaflet flower - grows up to 2.9 metres in height  
leaf height - up to 6 metres  
leaf width - up to 4.5 metres  
tuber (corm) - up to 100 kilograms.  
Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - Tuber Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - a new leaf Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - leaf Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - dead leaf
Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - flower Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - flower Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - flower Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - flower
Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - flower Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - flower Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - flower Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - flower and tuber
Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - spadix Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - flower closeup Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - in full flower Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) - flower closeup
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