The corpse flower that bloomed at the University of California, Davis, Botanical Conservatory last week is now fading. Ted the Titan, a specimen of Amorphophallus titanum (titan arum), will rest until producing a leaf, or perhaps another huge flower, next year. But the brief blooming brought a flurry of experiments from UC Davis biologists eager to take advantage of the rare event. And if you missed the stinky spectacle, you can still order a T-shirt.
Ted's flower reached a modest height of 43 inches. Titan arum flowers may reach a height of 6 feet, with a recent bloom in Bonn, Germany, setting a record of nearly 9 feet in height. But the flower lasted longer than expected, opening on Monday, June 9, and fading the following week.
"We may not have had the largest flower, but we're the longest lasting," said conservatory curator Ernesto Sandoval.
Others were marveling at the endurance of Sandoval's voice, as he spent the past week telling a stream of visitors about the plant from early morning to late at night. Sandoval estimated that about a thousand people visited the greenhouse on Tuesday, June 10, with hundreds more on Wednesday and Thursday.
The flower produced wafts of its distinctive roadkill scent throughout, but was at its most pungent in the first few hours of blooming.
Monday night's blooming, which was earlier than expected, set scientists scrambling to set up equipment.
"I was passing the greenhouse, and it seemed like an interesting opportunity," said toxicologist Bruce Hammock. Hammock and postdoctoral researcher Katja Dettmer collected air samples from around the plant that they will analyze to pin down the source of Ted's perfume.
"There are some interesting issues, such as where the smell comes from," said plant biologist Terry Murphy, who said he had been "agitating other people to do things" once he heard the flower was blooming.
Ken Shackel, a professor of pomology, set up temperaturPage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Andy Fell
University of California - Davis
. Scientist probes fossil oddity: Giant redwoods near North Pole2
. Giant icebergs, unprecedented ice conditions threaten Antarctic penguin colonies3
. Giant pandas have plenty of genetic diversity4
. From dolphins to the Giant Panda - chemistry at SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo5
. Giant jellies invade Gulf of Mexico threatening shrimp fishery6
. Giant plant-eating dinosaur found; two cast skeletons to be unveiled7
. First Dinosaur Embryo Skin Discovered -- Unhatched Embryos Are First Ever Found Of Giant-Plant Eating Dinosaurs8
. Virginia Techs smelly corpse plant due to bloom Aug. 49
. Springtime blooms seen earlier now than in the past, say Boston University biologists10
. NASA data shows hurricanes help plants bloom in ocean deserts11
. Asian dust storm causes plankton to bloom in the North Pacific