‘Corpse flower’ blooms again in Botanic Garden Meise

Summary

The rare titan arum is blooming in Meise – something that happens every one to three years – but the big news is that a second plant is expected to bloom by next week

72 hours to view

One of the Botanic Garden Meise’s titan arum flowers – also known as the corpse flower because of its less-than-pleasant odour – is blooming, something that happens for only 72 hours every one to three years.

Remarkably, the garden’s second, larger titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) is also expected to bloom early next week. This will allow botanists to pollinate the second flower. Titan arums are unique for both their height – the column-like bloom reached 244cm at the garden in 2013 – and because they cannot self-pollinate.

The female flowers located lower down inside the basin of leaves are ready to receive pollen 24 hours before the male flowers are ready to release it. In the wild, insects carry pollen from earlier bloomers to later bloomers. Workers at Meise – located just outside Brussels – will collect pollen from the plant blooming now, refrigerate it, and use it to pollinate the flower that will bloom next week.

The titan arum, one of the world’s largest flowers, is native to the rain forests of Sumatra and is naturally rare – meaning numbers are naturally low. However, it’s also under threat because of deforestation.

Long lines of visitors are expected at the garden this week and next week to view the latest blooms. The garden will remain open until 22.00 tonight to accommodate visitors.

Photo: The Botanic Garden’s corpse flower sometimes waits years between blooms
©Botanic Garden

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