Garden horticultural staff were ecstatic to discover last weekend the tell-tale sign another flower was imminent. A spadix (yellow flower-bearing spike) was visible inside the spathe (a collar-like structure that will eventually turn inside out and become burgundy) on another of the plants, which are threatened by deforestation in the rainforests of Sumatra in the wild.
Botanic Gardens Interim Director Greg Mackie OAM said to have another flower in such quick succession was a credit to the Gardens’ world-class staff, whose cutting-edge propagation techniques have helped the Gardens establish a large and viable collection of the species.
“What the Mount Lofty flowering showed us was the South Australian public really appreciates the wonder of nature, and cares about the important work being done by the Botanic Gardens to help conserve rare and vulnerable plants,” Mr Mackie said.
“It's thrilling there’s another opportunity for people to the see this rock-star of the plant world in the green heart of our city.”
Botanic Gardens of South Australia Horticultural Curator of Plant Propagation Matt Coulter said to get two flowers to bloom in the space of five weeks was an extremely rare occurrence, given how notoriously difficult they are to cultivate.
“They can take eight-to-10 years to flower from seed, even in optimum conditions, and even then the flower only lasts for about 48 hours,” Mr Coulter said.
“Combined with their size and foul stench to attract pollinators, they’ve become a coveted plant for botanic gardens around the world and we’re ecstatic we’ll likely see another flower as early as this week.”
While not yet flowering, the Titan arum can be viewed from a distance in the Bicentennial Conservatory at the Garden’s north-eastern end during its normal opening hours (10am to 4pm).