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Second Corpse Flower Now Blooming at San Diego Botanic Garden

Encinitas CA— Characterized by a scent Morticia Addams might use as an intoxicating perfume, a second deathly-smelling Amorphophallus titanum, also known as Titan Arum, is NOW BLOOMING At San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. The plant is on public display along with her ‘sister’ who bloomed on Tuesday, as well as another Titan Arum that is in leaf, so you can see all 3 Corpse Flower plants in various stages of this arresting plant’s bloom cycle – pretty amazing!

Photo: Lisa Reynolds (click on image to enlarge photo)

This bloom is definitely different than the first plant displayed at the Garden, which bloomed on Tuesday. The spathe (frilly leaves) are open wider and the scent is more pungent than her ‘sibling.’ Our Garden team believes it may be because this second Corpse Flower was kept in a greenhouse for a longer period of time at CSU Fullerton prior to blooming. The plant was transported in a UHaul to San Diego yesterday, which also kept the plant warmer allowing it to ‘heat up’ and perhaps produce more energy for its bloom. The first plant displayed at the Garden was placed outside in a cooler climate, perhaps slowing down the flowering process, and then causing the plant to bloom rapidly, according to SDBG Horticulture Staff.

All three Corpse Plants are now on display in SDBG’s Bamboo Garden during regular business hours from 9 am – 5 pm daily. Admission prices are $14 for adults, $10 for students/seniors/military, $8 for children, and no admission charge for children under 2 years of age.

“If there is any plant that creates a stir when in flower, it certainly is the Titan Arum,” says SDBG President & CEO Julian Duval. “One cannot predict when it will bloom. Individual plants only bloom about every 5 to 10 years and from start to finish this amazing plant usually goes through the whole bloom cycle, producing its huge inflorescence in less than 30 days.

“It (Titus Arum bloom) changes almost hourly, so you need to see it in all its stages. Yes, it stinks. But it is also other-worldly beautiful.”

Due to its odor, which smells like a rotting corpse or carcass, the Titan Arum is characterized as a carrion flower. It is best known by its more common name as the ‘Corpse Flower.’ This plant grows in the rainforests of Sumatra. This is a climate that will be replicated at the Garden once our Dickinson Family Education Conservatory is erected in late Spring/early Summer 2018, where the Garden hopes to have the titan arum as part of our permanent display.

Our most recent fully-blooming Corpse Flower is approximately 4 feet tall and is emitting a stronger scent TODAY. We’re not sure how long this bloom/stench will last, so come and visit NOW because you don’t want to miss it!

This plant, like it’s sibling, is currently on loan from California State University Fullerton. Edward Read, Manager of the Biology Greenhouse Complex at CSUF, was generous enough to loan the Garden a second blooming plant from his greenhouse. Both of these plants were propagated from the same ‘papa’ plant that bloomed at the Garden in 2007.

The seed for this plant (like our first bloom) was obtained as a collaboration between SDBG, CSUF, Fullerton Arboretum, and community member James Booman. Mr. Booman lent his Corpose Flower for display at the garden in 2006. It was pollinated by the staff from Fullerton and Mr. Booman shared this seed with the pollen donors. This is the 12th plant to bloom from seed planted in 2007 by Mr. Read.

Come see – and smell! – this rare and unusual bloom TODAY at San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas.