The unique Amorphophallus titanum, commonly known as titan arum or the “corpse flower,” is a large, fast-growing plant in the Aroid family. Few of these plants exist in cultivation, and they bloom only rarely and under just the right conditions. On the extremely infrequent occasion that a titan arum comes into flower, the intense, foul odor, emitted from a tall spike of small, crowded flowers, lasts just a few days.
Every year or two, the plant sends up one long, gigantic, rolled-up leaf that unfurls its umbrella-like blade during a period of about three weeks. The leaf lives for one or two years before the plant goes into a dormant period that lasts from a few months to a year. The inflorescence, a giant flowering structure, opens quickly, often in just a couple of hours. It maintains its full form for about 24 hours, with peak bloom (and the awful odor) lasting from 6 to 12 hours.
To date, the Garden has hosted 9 Amorphophallus titanum flowerings, the most recent in October of 2018.