Model of the Titan Arum

Display Description

Amorphophallus titanum, which means 'titanic misshapen phallus', is considered the largest unbranched infloresence in the world. While not closely related to Rafflesia, this flower also produces a strong odour not unlike that of a decomposing mammal carcass (which is thankfully not replicated in this model), and attracts carrion-associated insects such as flesh flies (Sarcophagidae) and carrion beetles (Silphidae) to pollinate it. Both male and female flowers of the Titan Arum grow in the same inflorescence. Female flowers open first, followed by male flowers after a day or two, a mechanism to prevent the flower from self-pollinating. After the flower dies, a single leaf (which can reach the size of a small tree) grows from the underground corm (a specialised swollen underground stem). The leaf structure can reach up to 6 m tall and 5 m across. Each year, the old leaf dies and a new one replaces it. When the corm has stored enough energy, it becomes dormant for about four months, and the process repeats.