Beauty with a beastly smell turns heads at Eden
The Eden Project’s latest monster smelly flower is turning heads not just because of the pong but also for its exotic setting.
The fourth titan arum to bloom in Eden’s Rainforest Biome this spring looks stunning set among foliage with the sunlight on its striking purple and yellow structure.
At 229 cm, it is also reaching higher than any of this year’s titans but short of Eden’s tallest-ever, which reached a towering height of 291cm.
According to Guinness World Records, the tallest bloom ever was a titan arum grown in New Hampshire, USA, in 2010 which reached a height of 3.1m.
Eden story-teller Nathan Mansbridge has been tracking the progress of the titan, measuring it daily with a laser device combined with a bamboo and cardboard measurer which he made himself.
He said: “Visitors love the natural setting right in among the foliage. Lots of bluebottles and other pollinators are now flying in, attracted by the strong odour. This one seems even more smelly than usual.”
The plant – proper name Amorphophallus titanum – lives for between seven and 10 years before opening up for as little as 48 hours.
When fully open the flowers let off the stink often compared to rotting flesh, hence the common name of corpse flower. Eden visitors have also likened the pong to ripe soft cheese, dead rat and rotting fish.
Eden has installed a webcam so people who cannot come to see the floral extravaganza can see the titans onscreen here: http://www.edenproject.com/titan-arum-webcam-2016.
There are also five more arums waiting in the wings and ready to bloom this year, all brought on by Eden’s titan expert, horticulturist Tim Grigg.