Although endemic to the rainforests of Indonesia, The Corpse Flower has been successfully propagated right here in Adelaide. Leaf cuttings from already established plants were re-planted in 2013 to grow new plants. As a result, there are approximately 100 Titan Arum in the Adelaide Botanic Garden collection today. One of these plants recently flowered and it is hoped that another flower will be produced sometime in the near future.
The Corpse Flower is a fascinating plant. In fact, it has been considered one of the world's biggest flowers. It also pulses a stinky smell that is most potent in the first 24 hours of blooming. Believe it or not, the reason for its gruesome rotting-flesh aroma is to attract pollinators!
When The Corpse Flower begins to open, it will strip back its green spathe to reveal a beautiful burgundy colour. It will bloom for approximately 48 hours, and then, close up again before withering away. Its yellow spadix will collapse, but the plant itself doesn't actually die. Instead, it moves into a dormant state and re-emerges about 12 months later. It eventually reaches another flowering stage in three to five years.
This botanical wonder is definitely worth seeing and I'm glad I did. We arrived early in the morning just as the conservatory was opening to avoid the long queues. I've heard that there's been up to a 1.5-hour wait for some people. If your curiosity has got the better of you, then head to the Adelaide Botanic Garden website or Facebook page and keep an eye out for the next time this putrid-scented plant decides to show off its beauty.