Amorphophallus titanum inflorescence

Amorphophallus titanum inflorescence

Amorphophallus titanum or titan arum is the largest known unbranched inflorescence in the world with an inflorescence of over 2 m  high.

The largest known single flower belongs to Rafflesia arnoldii and the largest known branched inflorescence to Corypha umbraculifera.

Amorphophallus Titanium belongs to the family of aroids or Araceae. It was discovered in 1878 in Sumatra by the Italian botanist Beccari.

The first specimen in culture flowered in 1889 at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK. Some young girls were prohibited from visiting the bloom that was considered to be indecent.

Description:

The inflorescence consists of a spathe which surrounds the spadix. The spathe is deeply pleated, green on the outside and purple on the inside. The spadix bears male flowers at the top, in the visible portion that protrudes from the spathe. The female flowers are at the bottom, hidden by the spathe. The female flowers flower before the male flowers so that no self-fertilization takes place. The bloom lasts about 72 hours.

During flowering the temperature of the spadix increases to about that of the human body to spread the smell of rotting flesh as far as possible: up to 800 m from the plant. Along with the purple color of the spathe, the illusion of decaying flesh is created to attract scavenger bugs and flies for the fertilization.

The seeds can be up to 5 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. They are not protected by a hard crust and therefore must be protected against drying out. They are best stored in the fruit itself or in moist sphagnum.

When the plant has finished flowering, a single stalk appears which divides into three branches at the top and from which a leaf appears that is composed of numerous leaflets. The whole plant can be 6 m high and 5 m wide. Each year a new leaf is produced, after a rest period when the tuber has stored enough energy.

The bloom is very rare, both in culture and in the wild. It appears when the plant is already quite old, 10 to 20 years, and the tuber about 30 kg. And another 8 years might pass before the next flowering.

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Bunga Bangkai, Titan arum

Synonyms:

Amorphophallus selebicus, Conophallus titanum

Etymology:

Amorphophallus: from the Greek words amorphos (shapeless) and phallos (phallus).
Titanum: from the Greek titan (giant).

Origin:

Sumatra

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 11, 5 °C
Tolerates a few hours of light frost but the bulb will probably sustain damage.

Amorphophallus titanum leaf

Amorphophallus titanum leaf
Source: Leonora Enking



Care:

Soil:

80% peat, 10% sand en 10% pumice, with a thick layer of soil drainage

Exposure:

During the winter provide as much light as possible, during the summer must be protected against strong sunlight

Water:

Always keep the substrate moist but not excessively moist: if the substrate is too dry, the tuber dies and if it is too wet the tuber will rot. During the rest period, when there is leaf nor flower on the plant, the substrate must be kept slightly moist.

Fertilizer:

Fertilize with a 0.3% solution of 8:8:6 fertilizer, till the solution runs out of the pot. Weekly from March to October and every 3 weeks from November to February. Stop fertilizing when the leaves begin to wilt.

Temperature:

Maximum 34 °C, optimum 26 °C, minimum: 24 °C

Hygrometry:

80-85 %

Repotting:

Dormancy may last 12 to 20 months and ends when a new button appears. Transplant during dormancy and use a pot that is 3 times as large as the bulb.

Propagation:

Seed

Sowing instructions:

  • sow immediately upon maturity of the fruit
  • remove all pulp from the seeds
  • plant 1 seed per pot of 9 cm diameter filled with the mix as mentioned abovAmorphophallus titanum fruite, about 5 mm depth
  • let stand in the light
  • supply 26 °C, also in the form of soil heating
  • place the pot on a layer of sand that is kept moist
  • germination: 2 weeks

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