Rare Titan Arum Bloomed at the McMillan Greenhouse on Friday, July 17th
Odie began unfurling approximately 12:30 pm Friday July 17th, and was open by 8 pm and filling the greenhouse with a pungent odor of dead animal mixed with burnt sugar. By 11 pm, the spathe opened even wider and flattened out. This is when John Denti attempted pollination (at full intensity of odor!). Saturday morning the spathe began to draw back in, displaying a beautiful form. This short-lived bloom is as expected and part of the allure of this amazing plant – years worth of energy go into a gigantic display designed for one night only! With the inflorescence now collapsed, we will be closely watching for signs of successful pollination and will post any updates on our Facebook page.
Thanks to all the excited visitors who have come to see Odie — it was a pleasure to share this special plant with you. We invite you all to visit your public botanical garden often and be inspired by the wonder and science of the world of plants.
Titan Arums are native only to the jungles of Sumatra and produce the world’s largest floral structures — imagine rounding a bend in the jungle to encounter a flower taller than you (unless you’re 10 feet tall!) Of course, they’d be hard to sneak up on when open, as the rotting meat odor coming from the fully open bloom can travel up to a half-mile away. It’s no wonder when they bloom in captivity at gardens around the world that they draw in admirers that have to see (and smell) it to believe this larger-than-life botanical spectacle!
Titans normally open in the evening and the intense odor only lasts for 12 hours. The bloom will stay open (with a much lighter odor) for only 1-2 days. Our Facebook friends helped us name our Titan, Odoardo, Odie for short (after Odoardo Beccari, the scientist who first discovered these plants in Sumatra in 1878). This is the third bloom for UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. We were the first public garden in the Carolinas to successfully bloom a Titan. Our beloved “Bella” bloomed in 2007 & 2010. See FAQs about Bella.
Bella, 2010 & 2007
UNC Charlotte’s Titan Arum bloomed for the second time in her life June 22-June 24, 2010.
Thank you to everyone who came out to share in her spectacle and to support the greenhouse and gardens (her humble caretakers)!
Wow- that was QUICK! Like a chance siting of a movie star, you can hardly believe you are seeing a celebrity before she has ducked into a limo and driven off. We believe the super-high temperatures contributed to Bella’s rapid aging (we were all fading quickly in the heat!). Most likely she was fully open and at her stinkiest during the middle of the night between Tuesday the 22nd & Wednesday the 23rd. By the end of the 24th, her petal-like spathe was withered and we pronounced the bloom over on the 25th. Thanks to the speed of communications these days, the word got out quickly and we estimate that we had about 4,000 visitors over a 3 day period. We did attempt pollination, and now we are waiting to see if that “took” – if there are “baby Bellas” in our future. In the meantime we still have T-shirts, bags, and even plants that are smaller relatives of the Titan Arum for sale (you can experience a similar smell in your own back-yard!)