Once in a Decade: the Giant in Bloom

Have you ever witnessed a true wonder of nature? It never ceases to amaze us with its creatures that are sometimes so hard to comprehend. RBG has become a home to one of them. And now a rare botanical spectacle is about to open up: the giant corpse flower (aka amorphophallus titanium) will shortly be in bloom. Rarer than a solar eclipse, the titan blooms only once in a decade or even once in 30 years, and it lasts less than a week.

Why is it so rare?

Titan arum can get almost five metres high and weigh up to 100 kg. Can you imagine how much energy it takes to sprout an enormous bud? The leaves could get four metres wide and the flower-like covering is equally large. This is why the corpse flower needs to be old enough and develop a large underground tuber. 

When it puts out a shoot everyone tracking the corpse flower keeps guessing if the bloom time has come or it’s just another giant leaf. The bloom is often triggered by heat which the amorphophallus titanium loves – a nod to its Sumatran origins. After weeks of anxiously watching the plant excited staff finally noticed the bud covers revealing the flower underneath…

Exactly how smelly is it?

The name of this titan famously comes from the smell it spreads around when in bloom. Some say it reminds them of rotten meat or spoiled cheese. Others who’d like to be more dramatic about it picture a decaying corpse when they smell the plant’s odor. 

But regardless, this phenomenon has a solid reason behind it. To ensure the pollination by flesh flies and other insects who feed on dead animals the flower tries to closely mimic their look with the smell and a blood coloured covering. It even goes as far as heating up to a normal body temperature around 36.7C to improve the likeness further and attract the pollinators. 

How to witness this wonder?

If you love to connect with nature in a meaningful way visit the bloom to see the different side of the world’s beauty. Get away from the routine walks in the park and make unbelievable memories you’ll cherish for your lifetime.  

Come to Royal Botanical Garden to see this remarkable sight, and share this blog post to invite your friends too. Don’t miss out on other events RBG has to offer and subscribe to our blog for updates.