Thursday, 28 December 2017

TITAN ARUM

Amorphophallus titanum (titan arum) has a massive inflorescence (flowering structure) consisting of a spathe (collar-like structure) wrapped around a spadix (flower-bearing spike). The spathe is the shape of an upturned bell. It is green speckled with cream on the outside, and rich crimson on the inside. It has ribbed sides and a frilled edge, and can be up to three metres in circumference. The flowers are carried on the lower end of the greyish-yellow spadix. At the base of the spadix, within the protective chamber formed by the spathe, is a band of cream male flowers above a ring of the larger pink female flowers.

When the flowers are ready for pollination, the spadix heats up and emits a nauseating smell. This stench is so bad that the Indonesians call the plant ‘the corpse flower’. Analyses of chemicals released by the spadix show the “stench” includes dimethyl trisulfide (like limburger cheese), dimethyl disulfide, trimethylamine (rotting fish), isovaleric acid (sweaty socks), benzyl alcohol (sweet floral scent), phenol (like Chloraseptic), and indole (like human faeces). The inflorescence rises from a tuber, a swollen underground stem modified to store food for the plant. This tuber, more or less spherical in shape and weighing 70 kg or more, is the largest such structure known in the plant kingdom.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.






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