Stinky floral freak triumphs in Eden’s very own Battle of the Titans
The Eden Project’s latest giant stinky flower was today (Tuesday May 10) declared the winner in a unique “Battle of the Titans”.
The third of Eden’s titan arums (Amorphophallus titanum) to bloom in quick succession has reached a height of 188 cms, putting it ahead of the 185.5cm and 156.1cm peak heights of the two sitting beside it in the Rainforest Biome.
The two others blossomed early this month but are now wilting - a characteristic of this spectacular plant that usually lives for between seven and 10 years before opening up for as little as 48 hours.
When fully open the flowers let off a stink often compared to rotting flesh, hence their common name of corpse flower. Eden visitors have also likened the pong to ripe camembert, dead rat and rotting fish.
Eden’s tallest-ever Titan flowered in 2011, reaching 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 triple titans and measuring their progress daily.
He said: “To have three flowering at around the same time under cover is, we think, a unique occurrence. People are amazed and delighted to have the opportunity to see and smell these fantastic plants."
Pollinated by beetles and flies attracted to the stench, the titan arum is a striking horticultural marvel.
The plant originates from the rainforest in western Sumatra, Indonesia, and grows on steep hillsides. It is rare in the wild and even scarcer in cultivation but Eden has an impressive success rate thanks to the dedication of horticulturist “Tropical” Tim Grigg.
Tim, 36, who is based at Eden’s nursery, has nurtured the titans for half his life, hand pollinating individual flowers, and considers them almost like family.
Eden has installed a webcam so people who can't come to see the floral extravaganza can see the titans onscreen here: http://www.edenproject.com/titan-arum-webcam-2016.