Freeing Big Stinky

Date posted: 22 May 2015

It has been a while since we’ve updated you on the progress of our Amorphophallus titanum – better known around here as Big Stinky – and his friends. Our seven biggest specimens – which are endemic to the rainforests of western Sumatra and produce one of the world’s biggest flowers (which smell like rotting flesh) – have been growing vigorously at the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden nursery. They demanded we give them more potting mix and bigger homes, and how could we say no?

It was up to Matt Coulter (Curator Plant Propagation), Reg Baldock (nursery volunteer) and Rory Smith (third year trainee) to undertake the mammoth task of re-potting the rare and coveted plants, (also known as titan arum), which required smashing the old pots to let the burgeoning plants out. Big Stinky and pals had to be re-potted on-site in the glasshouse because once they were potted up it was going to be a challenge to move them.

Now that the plants are sitting pretty in their new homes, the big question is – when will they flower? The titan arum flowers only very rarely and we haven’t yet seen one (they can grow up to three metres tall!) do it in South Australia. Matt is just days away from jumping on a plane to Europe where he’ll talk shop with the crew at the Botanic Garden of Bonn in Germany – which has had great success with their titan arums. Could we be on the cusp of our very own corpse flower at the Botanic Gardens of South Australia? Watch this space.

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