Rare bloom of a flower to happen soon at St. Paul conservatory
An endangered, rare Sumatran plant that has been patiently waiting to bloom for 18 years is developing a flower bud and will soon send a perfume odor of rotting flesh. The Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the Corpse Flower from the smell it omits during peak bloom, will be flowering sometime between June 26 and July 4 at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in Saint Paul.
The corm started to show signs of growth in early May as the new tip began to emerge from the soil. By May 26, the emerging shoot was six-inches tall and has been growing at a rate of one to three inches a day.
The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory obtained this plant through Gustavus Adolphus College's Chemistry Professor Dr. Brian O'Brien from Dr. James Symon. Dr. Symon collected the seed in Sumatra in 1993 while working with David Attenborough on filming the BBC nature documentary "The Private Life of Plants." Gustavus had a second bloom last summer, from a corm that weighed about 150 pounds. Como's corm weighs in at 55 pounds. Once the flower reaches full bloom it omits an odor associated with rotting flesh for approximately 36 to 48 hours.
The Titan Arum was first discovered in 1878 by Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari. He sent seeds to England's Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, where the first bloom of this species in cultivation occurred in 1889. The First U.S. bloom occurred in 1937 at the New York Botanical Gardens and less than 150 plants grown in public institutions world wide have flowered since.
The Corpse Flower plant is on public display for visitors to see and soon smell. To follow along the growth and watch the progress, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory will provide updates on the Gardener's Blog and a live Webcam found on the website www.comozooconservatory.org under "News."