Date: 
Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 10:45

For the first time ever, the Eden Project has three Titan arums – the world’s biggest, smelliest flower – side by side in its Rainforest Biome.

The Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) is a rare and striking horticultural marvel that usually 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.

One of the plants, which bloomed last month (July), is currently fruiting. It is covered in striking orange berries, having been pollinated after flowering. It is flanked by two other Titans – one which flowered last weekend and one which is due to flower in the next few days.

The first of the pair to bloom reached a height of 149cm before it started dying back. The bigger Titan currently measures 203cm and is currently growing at a rate of more than 10cm a day.

The Titan which is yet to flower will be the twelfth bloom in Eden’s history, all of which have been grown and cared for by skilled horticulturist “Tropical” Tim Grigg.

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 excited to be bringing these horticultural marvels to Eden’s  Rainforest Biome this year. I think that Titan arums are a spectacular plant and I’m happy to see that they have captured the imagination of our visitors too.”

In his 16 years at Eden, Tim 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.

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

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