Stranger Things

Date posted: 21 December 2016

Will Adelaide soon have another Corpse Flower on its hands (or should that be, noses)? That’s the question facing Botanic Gardens staff, as our superstar Titan Arum, Ganteng (who flowered in the Bicentennial Conservatory in February), may be set for another bloom soon.

But this is where it gets complicated. The 11-year-old plant has not only started growing the beginnings of a flower, but also a leaf – AT THE SAME TIME. Staff in the Bicentennial Conservatory this week noticed an inflorescence (flowering structure) had begun growing out of the leaf.

Typically, what occurs during the Titan Arum’s (Amorphophallus titanum) life cycle is that the flower dies back the plant goes into a resting stage, which it has been doing since February.

When it’s ready, the corm – the swollen underground plant stem – will shoot up a leaf (most common) OR another flower (it’s rare for this to happen two years in a row).

In Ganteng’s case, the corm has not only produced a leaf, but a flower too, shooting off to the side (see the picture, right).

According to our expert, Horticultural Curator of Plant Propagation Matt Coulter, this is extremely rare – so rare, in fact, that he hasn’t heard of this happening before!

Our team is currently researching what this might mean for Ganteng – how the leaf and flower might develop together, whether it’s likely we will see the flower bloom and, if so, how big it might be, etc.

In the meantime, we’ll update you on Ganteng’s progress via the Adelaide Botanic Garden Facebook page.

Should Ganteng decide to flower in the New Year, those who’ve subscribed to our enewsletter will be the first to know where and when they can see it.

Watch (or, um, smell) this space!

See how you can help us grow a forest of these smelly giants.

Join us for a lecture on the Amorphophallus titanum with our resident expert on Thursday 2 February.

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