Rare Corpse Flower's bloom brings thousands to Adelaide Botanic Garden

The eyes of the world were on the Adelaide Botanic Garden after an endangered Corpse Flower, aka Titan Arum, flowered for its first time.

The plant, which was propagated from a leaf cutting in 2013, produced its magnificent inflorescence on Sunday, 8 January 2023 and began its stinky 48-hour bloom.

Approximately 10,000 visitors came through the doors of the Bicentennial Conservatory to test their nostrils against the plant's notoriously foul-smelling odour - likened to rotting flesh, dead rats and pungent blue cheese.

Rare Corpse Flower's bloom brings thousands to Adelaide Botanic Garden
This photo was taken on Monday, January 9 at 7:30am.

The smells pulses out of the plant, during the first 24 hours of the bloom, as it seeks to attract pollinators to allow it to reproduce.

Interest in the Corpse Flower didn't stop at the gates of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, with the flowering event gaining international media coverage in countries across the globe, highlighting Adelaide's botanical conservation work to the world.

The Titan Arum plant, known botanically as Amorphophallus titanum, is endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where there are fewer than 1,000 plants left in the wild.

It is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List - having been previously listed as vulnerable in 2018.

Many parts of the Titan Arum's natural habitat have been impacted by rainforest deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations, and palm-oil alternative plantations.

The Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium (BGSH) are part of a global effort to conserve the species.

Rare Corpse Flower's bloom brings thousands to Adelaide Botanic Garden
This photo was taken on Sunday, January 8 at 10:30pm.

BGSH horticultural curator Matt Coulter said information is shared between BGSH and its global partners to ensure this species is saved from extinction.

"These plants are very difficult to grow and induce flowering in cultivation away from their natural habitat, and we learn something new every time a Titan Arum plant flowers," he said.

"With parts of the natural habitat being cleared, we need to work with other worldwide partners to share knowledge and help conserve the Titan Arum.

"Samples for DNA genotyping, propagation techniques, plant tubers and even strange growth occurrences are shared with other institutions across the world who are also looking our for the species."

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