A. titanum 5-15-01, 1:30 pm
May 15, 2001, 1:30 p.m. EDT, 80 1/4 inches
Amorphophallus titanum in full bloom. Craig Allen explains the hand pollination process.

Amorphophallus titanum 2001

What's all the Stink About?

The Return of the Titan

May 15 - Titan Arum reaches full bloom
May 18 - Spadix collapsed.
Greatest Natural Show on Earth

The Amorphophallus titanum, nicknamed "Mr. Stinky", did not disappoint Craig Allen, Conservatory Manager and Titan horticulturist. Back for a second and grander performance since its debut in June 1998, the majestic plant wowed a handful of people as it came in to full bloom in the early hours of May 15.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a living museum where the exhibit changes every day – or in this case, every hour. The huge Amorphophallus titanum plant, (commonly known as "Titan Arum"), that produced a five foot bloom in 1998  bloomed again on May 15, 2001. Craig M. Allen, Fairchild's Conservatory Manager and horticulturist responsible for growing this magnificent species, estimated the bloom to open between May 14th and 16th -- and he was right.  This malodorous, giant plant, once described as "the greatest superstar of the botanical world," by David Attenborough, was growing at a rate of at least three inches a day, sometimes 4 or 5 inches. It attained a height of 80 1/4 inches (6 ft. 8 1/4 in.!).

Craig Allen waters A. titanum 5-9-01, 68 in.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden started the Titan craze that has swept the country when in 1998, " Mr. Stinky," produced the first documented Titan bloom in nearly 60 years in the United States. In addition to being the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, the Titan is known for the intensely powerful stench that is released when it blooms. The foul odor, once described, as "rotting elephant corpse" is quite offensive to humans, but very alluring to carrion beetles that pollinate the plant.

Media attention once again attracted huge crowds to Fairchild and it was viewed worldwide as bloom was documented with a web cam, updated at fine minute intervals, until the spadix collapsed on May 18. News of the plant went "round the world" with coverage on television, radio and newspapers throughout the United States and in countries including Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Holland and Sweden. Visitors and scientists traveled to Fairchild from around the globe to witness this sensational natural phenomenon.

Originally thought to die after blooming, this extraordinary Titan is the first in the United States to put on a second spectacular showing. The tuber which produced the amazing flower measured 20 inches in diameter and weighed 68 pounds at planting, the weight of an average 9-year old.

Craig M. Allen, Conservatory Manager and
Derreck Colebrooke, Visiting Horticulturist from the Bahamas, repot tuber on August 9, 2000.
Tuber stats at repotting: 68 pounds, 20 inch diameter, potted in to 42 inch diameter planter

Dr. Odoardo Beccari first discovered the Titan Arum in the rainforests of central Sumatra in 1878. The discovery of this species ranks as one of the greatest highlights of natural history exploration. The huge bloom is often taller than a man and is produced by the plant kingdom's largest tuber. After the "flower" emerges, a singe huge leaf appears. On the first day the "flower" opens, it is ready for pollination and begins releasing the overpowering stench in waves. While the odor lasts only 8 hours, the flower blooms approximately 2 ½ days and then collapses. The Titan is the most astonishing member of the aroid family. Common known members of this interesting group include philodendrons, caladiums, calla lilies and anthuriums.

Titan Tips
A. titanum detail 5-14-01, 7:25 pm
Titan Watch 2001
May 18Spadix collapsed,
final webcam image 3:07 p.m.
May 1780 1/4 inches and growing more closed
May 1680 1/4 inches
Pollen collected twice.
9:00 a.m. EDT
bloom still magnificent and showing signs of 'growing closed' after pollination
May 1579 1/2 inches, spathe 45 diameter
bloom fully open
hand pollination occurred 4:00 p.m.
May 1512:01 a.m. spathe open, height 79 1/2 inches, intense waves of odor one could almost taste.
May 149:00 p.m. strong waves of odor,
spath has opened approx. half way
May 146:00 p.m. slight odor
May 141:00 p.m. spathe pulls further away
May 1479 1/2 inches, 9:00 a.m.
May 1378 inches
May 1276 inches, bract separated from spathe
May 1174 inches (6 ft. 2 inches)
May 1070 inches
May 968 inches
May 863 inches, spathe showing coloration
May 760 inches (5 ft.)
May 654.5 inches
May 446.5 inches
May 342.5 inches
May 239.5 inches
May 136 inches
April 3032.5 inches
April 2726 inches, spadix first visible
April 2624 inches
April 2319 inches
April 2013.5 inches
April 1912 inches
April 1811 inches

Watch it grow . . .

A. titanum 4-26-01
4-26-2001 24 inches
A. titanum 4-29-01
4-29-2001 29inches
A. titanum 5-1-01
5-1-01 36 inches
A.titanum   5-2-01
5-2-01 39.5inches
A. titanum  5-6-01
5-6-01 54.5 inches
A. titanum  5-7-01
5-7-01 60 inches
A. titanum 5-8-01
5-8-01 63 inches
A. titanum 5-9-01
5-9-01 68 inches
A. titanum 5-12-01
5-12-01 76 inches
A.titanum  5-13-01
5-13-01 78 inches
A.titanum 5-14-01
5-14-01, 10:30 pm 79 1/2 inches
A.titanum 5-15-01
5-15-01 79 1/2 inches
A.titanum 5-17-01
5-17-01 80 1/4 inches
A.titanum 5-20-01
5-20-01 spadix collapsed
Titan Salute - Craig Allen, Suzanne Kores
Photo Barbara Hobbs

See it GROW through animation

You are welcome to use these images for non-commercial, educational purposes such as school reports, and presentations. They may also be used freely by the media (television, newspapers, magazines, web) if you cite Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden as the source. If you do use any of our material, we would appreciate a copy of what you produce. Our images may not be included within any kind of a commercial package (such as a clip art or screen saver package). For information regarding use, contact Suzanne Kores.

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