This week, a corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) bloomed at Plant Delights nursery in Raleigh. Conveniently, blooming coincided with the nursery’s summer open-house.
Just a few years ago, the blooming of a corpse flower at a botanical garden would have been recorded by CNN or the national newspapers. Artificial propagation has made the species reasonably widespread in cultivation, but blooming is still an exciting horticultural event. I had never before been privileged to see an A. titanum inflorescence. It was impressively large, and although the stench was not as strong and pervasive as I expected, it definitely smelled like old road-kill. The smaller Amorphophallus konjac in my garden have a hint of sewer in their fragrance, but this was pure carrion.
After paying our respects to ‘Peter Grande,” we did a little shopping. The rain was coming down in sheets, so we cut short our browsing and came away with only a Penstemon murrayanus and a Hemerocallis altissima. The baby A. titanum seedlings were tempting, but I managed to resist. Maybe next time.
For more details on ‘Peter Grande’, see Plant Delights’ Titan Page.