June 3, 2019:
This morning is a bittersweet day. Most of the scent has passed as Scarlett begins to close. Now will begin the next phase of this Corpse Flower’s life… A nice long NAP! The bloom should remain standing for the next few days for public viewing. As the bloom begins to senesce, our horticulture experts will remove any decaying portions to ensure that the ever-important corm underground remains free from disease or rot. Once all above ground portions have died back, Scarlett will be moved to a behind the scenes space to quietly rest. We will be open today from 10:00a.m. to 10:00pm for your viewing pleasure with last entry at 9:30p.m. Come on down and take a gander at Scarlett the Titan!
Here are some photos from last night’s stinkfest with some helpful captions:
Here you see Scarlett in her full bloom glory. You can also see how that central spadix heats up. For Scarlett, around 87 degrees Fahrenheit!
These three photos show the journey of a curious, scent-driven insect. Notice the small individual flowers at the very base of the spadix. Incredible!
June 2, 2019: 6:13p.m.
The show has finally begun… Scarlett’s spathe has begun to open signifying that tonight is the night! From here things progress rapidly. As Scarlett’s pollinators are only active deep in the night the real prime time stinkfest will be closest to midnight. Tonight, we will be open until 10:00p.m. (last entry 30 minutes prior to closing) so come on down to take a whiff and witness this spectacle of the botanical world. Here are some initial photos of our star!
May 31, 2019:
The smell of this curious bloom itself is certainly impressive, but what part of the plant is stinky? The answer may surprise you! This plant can produce some of the nastiest-smelling chemicals around all manufactured in the top of the central spadix.
Here are just a few of the fun fragrances produced by the Corpse Flower and where you might encounter them elsewhere in the world:
1) dimethyl trisulfide – A liquid with a foul odor and can be detected by humans as low as 1 part per trillion. It has been found emitted from cooked onions, leeks, broccoli and cabbage. You can even find it in your Limburger cheese!
2) isovaleric acid – This lovely one may be easily recognized. A study in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology found that this acid is produced by a bacterium called Staphylococcus epidermidis which lives naturally on the human skin and produces that characteristic sweaty feet smell.
3) trimethylamine – This scent can be a shapeshifter of sorts. In low concentrations you can detect the smell of rotting fish while higher amounts tend to be more like ammonia. It can be found as a product of plant or animal decomposition and even bad breath.
With these lovely chemicals combined with others we are treated to the deep odor of rotting flesh. It is a smell that few people on this planet get to experience and we are thrilled to share it with you once again!
Other exciting news to share today… Scarlett measured in this morning at 71.25 inches! This officially puts Scarlett ahead of our previously tallest individual, Terra the Titan back in 2017. Come in and see this towering specimen in person to get the full perspective but for now, here are some progress photos:
May 28, 2019:
The Corpse Flower is often confused for the largest flower in the plant kingdom. That distinction goes to another smelly species, Rafflesia arnoldii. The Corpse Flower, however, is the largest unbranched inflorescence (flower spike) with a record specimen reaching over 10.5 feet tall. This inflorescence is made up of dozens of tiny, petal-less flowers arranged at the bottom of the central spadix. Female flowers open first to receive pollen from another Corpse Flower in bloom in the forest. They then shrivel and become unreceptive to pollen before the male flowers open. The male flowers will then release their pollen to be carried to a different Corpse Flower.
We have also reached a new milestone! Scarlett is just beginning to put some color on that ruffled spathe. Now that the spathe is turning its signature crimson color, we could be expecting a bloom in less than a week. Be sure not to blink or you might miss the opportunity to come to see (and smell!) this rare plant in full bloom. Stay tuned!
Today’s growth measures in at 67 inches. We are only 3 inches away from topping our tallest Corpse Flower on record, Terra the Titan, back in 2017. Progress photos below:
May 25, 2019:
As you may know, many flowering plants require a pollinator to move pollen from one flower to another. Most plants in our daily lives use familiar pollinators such as bees, butterflies, or birds to get the job done but not this quirky individual. With its peak bloom near midnight, the smells are released to call in pollinators such as beetles and flies, those who enjoy the pungent aroma of rotting flesh, to facilitate the movement of the all-important pollen. While it is unknown how far away insects may be able to detect the stench, humans can smell the odor from nearly a mile away in the dense forests of Sumatra. Today the growth measures at 59 inches. We are now seeing one of the two remaining leaf-like bracts is beginning to fall away. Yet another sign that Scarlett is moving ever closer to that auspicious moment of bloom! Enjoy a few new progress photos below and come in to see for yourself. Open today from 10-6.
May 21, 2019:
Today we can see much more of the ruffled spathe visible with a beautiful fade to green as you move down the plant. The bloom now measures at 47.5 inches tall which is an incredible 8.5 inches increase from our last blog post. Here are a few progress photos so you can see just how much Scarlett has grown!
May 17, 2019:
Wow, how this plant can grow! We are now able to see the spathe of Scarlett the Titan. From our best estimate, this gives us anywhere from 10-14 days until peak bloom. We will be sure to post updates on the progress of this stinky friend so you can be here at just the right moment! The bloom currently measures 39 inches adding 2 inches from yesterday’s post.