Looks can be deceiving!

It may look pretty, but it is guaranteed you’ll run for the hills if you ever find yourself around this deceptive beauty. The name is Amorphophallus titanum or as it’s commonly referred to as, titan arum.picture2

A flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, and the vilest stench in the plant kingdom! It has been compared to the odor of rotting animal and thus is nicknamed the corpse flower/plant.It releases the chemicals that cause the odors for limburger, cheese, rotting fish, sweaty socks, Chloraseptic, and human feces. Some few Amorphophallus species are actually pleasant smelling, such as bananas and freshly chopped carrots.

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It grows in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, Sabah and Sarawak and can reach over 3 m in height. The purpose of the stench is to attract corpse-eating insects that pollinate it. The present record for the largest titan arum is 305 lbs. It normally requires 7-10 years of growth before it blooms for the first time. That’s the definition of a rare beauty!

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As we all know, rainforests are being hugely depleted and devastating deforestation has massively threatened this species as well as many others. The titan arum is not only depleting in population numbers, but its primary pollinator species the rhinoceros hornbill also does not have enough habitat to survive. As a conservation effort, the Royal Botanic Gardens as well as other establishments have been investigating techniques and surveying conditions for saving this rare species. In cultivation this plant has proven to be particularly difficult to grow.

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