Date: 
Friday, July 3, 2015 - 10:30

The Eden Project is preparing for the blooming of its tenth Titan arum – the world’s biggest, smelliest flower.

The Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) is a rare and striking horticultural marvel that normally lives for between seven and 10 years before flowering for as little as 48 hours and then dying.

When it flowers, it lets out a putrid stench that many liken to rotting flesh, hence its nickname of “corpse flower”. In the wild, this malodorous musk attracts insects and animals that pollinate the plant.

The tenth Titan – as with all of Eden’s previous Titans – has been grown and cared for by skilled horticulturist “Tropical” Tim Grigg. It currently stands at 165cm (5ft 5in) and is growing at an astonishing rate of 10cm a day. Eden’s experts predict it could flower at any time in the next few days.

Eden’s biggest ever Titan flowered in 2011, reaching a height of 291cm. Some specimens have been known to reach 3m (just under 10ft) in height when they flower.

Tim Grigg said: “I’m very proud to be bringing Eden’s tenth flowering Titan arum to the Rainforest Biome. I am fascinated by Titan arums and I’m glad that these spectacular plants always capture the imagination of our visitors.”

Tim Grigg has grown all of Eden’s Titan arums and has worked at the project for 16 years.

In that time, he has become one of the world’s top Titan growers. Besides the ones that have already flowered at Eden, Tim looks after a small forest of around 40 smaller specimens which are due to bloom in the next few years.

In his time working with the plants, Tim has propagated them using a variety of different techniques.

In November 2007, he successfully pollinated a flower using a paintbrush attached to a bamboo cane with pollen he acquired from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Many of the young plants he currently looks after at the nursery were grown from this fruit.

Tim plans to pollinate this Titan arum with pollen donated by the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh from their Titan – nicknamed “New Reekie” – which flowered last week.

Visitors can keep an eye on the Titan’s progress with a webcam at www.edenproject.com/titan-arum-webcam.

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