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Products > Plants - Browse By Plant Category > Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc. > Amorphophallus titanum
Amorphophallus titanum - Corpse Flower

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Araceae (Arums)
Origin: Indonesia (Asia)
Flower Color: Maroon
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 10-16 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): High Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: >32 F
Amorphophallus titanum (Titan Lily) - The titan lily, or corpse flowers as it is also known, grows from a large tuber which can reach 170 pounds or more. It produces a single, huge umbrella-like compound leaf that can reach over 12 feet high in greenhouse cultivation and is known to reach 20 feet tall and 15 feet across in the wild. This leaf can live for about a year. The tuber then enters a short dormant period before producing another leaf or flower. When it flowers, a huge inflorescence forms, bearing the typical aroid arrangement of the spathe and spadix which bears tiny male and female flowers. In the case of the Corpse Flower, the fleshy maroon-colored spathe is up to 3 feet across with frilly edges with the central spadix up to 6 feet tall. The spathe unfurls about 3 weeks after the bud tip first appears. The flower typically stays open for two days. When the flower is fully open, it emits a repulsive scent which is strongest at night to attract pollinators such as carrion beetles, flies and sweat bees. This plant was discovered by the Italian botanist and explorer Dr. Odoardo Beccari in 1878 in the rainforests of central Sumatra in western Indonesia. The first specimen flowered in cultivation at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England in 1889. In 1999 the Huntington flowered their Amorphophallus titanum and made national news as it was the first-ever flowering of this rare plant in California, and only the 11th recorded bloom in the United States. It may take 15 years or more for this plant to mature from seed and bloom and thereafter flowering generally occurs on alternate leaves with other years it produces an amazingly large single leaf, so it is rare to see a blooming plant except in botanical collections. A plant flowered at the University of California Santa Barbara Biology Greenhouse in August 2002. This plant, named "Tiny" was hand pollinated by Greenhouse Manager Barron Rugge using pollen from the Huntington Garden's plant. When the seed matured Baron shared some of the seed with us and we had a crop that we sold to our California customers in 2004 but have not had any plants to sell since. A sister seedling to our plants, that has since been named Chanel, started blooming at UCSB in July 2013 - information and images of this plant can be found on their website at UCSB Amorphophallus titanum. Plants have also flowered regularly at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory and at the Huntington Botanic Gardens. Other common names for this plant are Titan Arum and Titan Lily.  The information on this page is based on our research that has been conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in the nursery, in the nursery's garden, and in other gardens where it has been observed. We also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing  Amorphophallus titanum.