Have you ever wondered what a blooming corpse flower smells like? Head to Munich’s Botanical Garden tomorrow, May 25, 2016, and you will probably have a chance to find out for yourself whether it smells like rotten eggs, as the fragrance is described in German literature, or if the odour is more that of a rotting animal, as English speaking scientists describe it. Scientists also describe the stench as a mixture of fragrances stemming from limburger cheese, rotting fish, sweaty socks, sweet floral scent, chloraseptic, and some others. We’ll wait for the video.
For the first time in decades a corpse flower will bloom again at Munich’s Botanical Garden (Botanischer Garten). Amorphophallus titanum, known as the titan arum, is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world and grows in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. In cultivation, the titan arum generally requires 7–10 years of vegetative growth before blooming for the first time. After its initial blooming, there can be considerable variation in blooming frequency. Some plants may not bloom again for another 7–10 years while others may bloom every two to three years. The photo from the Twitter account of the Botanical Garden in Munich, shown below, has been taken today, May 24, 2016 at 2pm.
As the spathe gradually opens, the spadix releases powerful odour’s to attract pollinators, insects which feed on dead animals or lay their eggs in rotting meat in order to be pollinated. The potency of the odours (aroma) gradually increases from late evening until the middle of the night, when carrion beetles and flesh flies are active as pollinators, then tapers off towards morning. The time-lapse video below shows the blooming of the plant at Chicago’s Botanical Garden a few months ago.
You can get more info about the over 20 hectares large Botanical Garden, its location, opening hours, ticket prices etc. from our post Museums in Munich: Botanical Garden. The day the titan arum begins blooming, the Botanical Garden will remain open much longer. The time-lapse video below shows the blooming of the plant at Chicago’s Botanical Garden a few months ago.