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Corpse Flower Comes Alive with Biennial Bloom

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(Davis, CA)
Friday, June 24, 2011

Ted the Titan… has flowered.  Ted is a titan arum and on the outside, resembles a large green lettuce leaf wrapped into the shape of a vase.  Inside, the leaf has many salmon-colored ridges and a large green thing called a spadix, which resembles a poorly-rolled, green cigar. 

Ernesto Sandoval is the Botanical Conservatory Director. He says Ted starts as a girl, who develops a fever.  With the heat, comes the stench. And it is the stench that Ted uses to invite insects to come from miles around. 

SANDOVAL: "Last night it was, that center stalk, in the middle, pointing up? It was really hot.  Heated up to about 20 degrees warmer than air temperature."

Young visitors say its nickname …the corpse flower… is well earned

KIDS: "smells like rotten eggs"

Once the guests have arrived, Ted turns into a man, dumps pollen all over them, and then shows them the door. 

But he can't keep nosy human neighbors from watching.  For student Joelle Fregeau, it's something she has been waiting to see for years.

FREGEAU: "He's been telling me about this plant since I was little.  Ended up going to the school that had it, so…"

Ted will be available for viewing until late Saturday afternoon, and then we will wait another two years for his next invitation. 

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