Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Amorphophallus titanum and the Botanical Gardens

How long did you spend trying to pronounce the name of the title? I could have shortened it - called it the titanum arum, but nah - had to be all Science teacher on you, didn't I?

Besides the Royal Baby's birth on Monday (which I was obsessed with) there was some other news in DC. A giant, 8 foot tall flower bloomed in the US Botanical Gardens.

So what's the big deal about this flower?

It releases a putrid scent (rotting meat) to attract pollinators (i.e. dung beetles). It also has a very unpredictable blooming cycle and could go years or decades before blooming again. It takes an incredibly long time for it to store enough energy to bloom.

It may not be as important as the new Royal baby, but it's pretty neat to see nonetheless. I had to see it for myself. And yes, I wanted to smell it. I arrived at the Gardens around 2:30 and there was a small line. Sadly, I heard from people that had seen it that the smell was already gone. The plant bloomed late Sunday night, right before the Gardens were to close, so the scent was strongest between Sunday evening and Monday night - when no one was there.

Although it wasn't emitting its odor anymore, I did notice a faint hint of something in the air when I walked into the room that housed the flower. Everyone was waiting for their turn to snap a shot of the towering plant.

After getting my photos and verifying that I indeed could not smell anything coming from the titan arum, I explored a little of the gardens while cumulonimbus clouds built in the distance. One can never get tired of looking at Nature's beauty.


  1. That plant is HUGE! Glad you didn't have to smell it. :-)

  2. I love the US botanical gardens in DC! I did my first marathon in DC and spent a few days there touring prior (in 2011)and I spent like half a day at the gardens because I loved it so much. Holy cow that flower is big and I am really glad you didn't have to deal with the smell it is supposed to have!

  3. Lovely pictures, I tried to pronounce it but I will go with your easier version. :)