Corpse plant flowers
Published: 17th Jul 2017The first of two huge, smelly flowers from South East Asia has flowered in Crocodile Swamp.
The first of two huge smelly flowers has bloomed at Paignton Zoo.
Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) flowers can be up to 3 metres high and 3 metres in circumference and smell like rotting meat. In 2012, Paignton Zoo was the first zoological collection in the UK to have a Titan arum bloom. The gardens team succeeded again in 2015 - but 2017 could be their best year ever for these smelly giants.
Giles Palmer, Curator of Plants and Gardens at Paignton Zoo, said: “We have two Titan arums in Crocodile Swamp opposite one of the crocodile pools. When you stand looking at the plants, the female saltwater crocodile creeps up behind you, which is a little unnerving!”
Giles: “We nicknamed this first plant Tiny Tim – the tuber of the second one is much larger!” The second Titan is three or four weeks behind and weighed an impressive 56kgs when re-potted in March.
Giles added: “It is great for us to be able to talk about horticulture at Paignton Zoo. We are a combined zoological and botanical garden, the plants are as important as the animals. This has been a really good opportunity to remind people of that. The whole gardens team has worked hard on this and should be very proud of the results.”
The plant - from the rainforests of Sumatra and a member of the Arum family - is classed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. It has one of the largest flowers in the world; the bloom – correctly, an inflorescence – is green on the outside and bright red inside, with ribbed sides and a frilled edge. Due to its odour – said to be like rotting meat – it’s known as a carrion flower, and has been dubbed corpse flower or corpse plant. It emits the strong smell at night to attract pollinators.