Also known scientifically as titan arum or amorphophallus titan, the affectionately named Putrella, is the tallest and the stinkiest plant in the world and we had an opportunity to see this rare and unusual plant in person! It’s a rare sight to see an exotic plant like this, especially in a winter city like Edmonton. And it’s even rarer to see it bloom, as it only blooms every few years.
This is the first time the titan arum has bloomed in Western Canada! It was an experience of a lifetime and we were very excited to be at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton to see this rare plant in full bloom. And the best part is that it bloomed on Earth Day (April 22, 2013) !!
Impressively, she started as a bud a few inches tall on March 11, 2013 and grew to her height of 8 ft tall in about 40 days!
But the size of the plant isn’t the only attraction. It is the rotting-flesh odor that is drawing in the crowds. Like everybody else there, we were expecting the worse of the worse. Even Muttart’s Facebook Page suggested we bring a gas mask! But I must say, as much as the plant did stink, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The odor is reminiscent of soiled diapers/garbage/rotten eggs that had been left out for days. Some might even say it’s the smell of death.
Putrella is expected to be blooming for a couple more days, for a maximum of 36 hours. But of course, the plant will be in its fullest glory on the first day of blooming. The spathe, the ribbed leaves around the plants, opens up and releases its infamous foul odor, which only lasts a day.
Over the next couple of days, the plant will start to wilt and the spadix, the tall structure in the middle will droop, due to the substantial energy used during the blooming period. The foul smell is meant to attract pollinators to the plant. Titan arums are pollinated by carrion beetles.