The science bit
Large woody climber with corky furrowed bark. Leaves ovate up to 35cm long. Flowers ‘s’-shaped, cream-coloured tubes up to 4.5cm long, strongly inflated and with purple venation. Tube mouth much broader than tube and fringed with succulent purple hairs, yellow with purple dots inside. Fruits up to 5cm long, fleshy and six-angled. Pollinated by flies and beetles.
- The flowers look and have a nauseating smell like rotting flesh to attract its insect pollinators. Inside the top of the flower are tiny windows that attract the insect to fly towards the light: this area houses the sexual parts of the flower. Once in the flower, the insect is imprisoned by hairs. When the insect has been covered in pollen the imprisoning hairs wither and the insect is free to go and pollinate another flower. This sophisticated mechanism has evolved to ensure the plant continues to reproduce and survive.
- In its natural habitat the Dutchman's pipe flowers from April to June; however, at Eden in cultivation expect to see it from November to March.
Where it grows
Dense evergreen subtropical forests, at around 400–1000m altitude, from the eastern Himalayas to southern China.
- Ovate: two-dimensionally egg-shaped with widest part at base.
- Succulent: consisting of juicy, fleshy stems evolved to cope in arid conditions.