The “Corpse Flower” blooms at UC Botanical Garden

Late last Wednesday night, Maladora, one of UC Botanical Garden’s Titun Arum plants, bloomed for the first time in seven years! The plant is more commonly known as the ‘corpse flower’ because of its ‘rotting meat’ odor and color, which functions to attract pollinators such as flies and beetles. You would think that this smell would be less attractive to humans, but last week people from all around the country came to see the Corpse Flower in bloom.

Maladora, UC Botanical Garden’s corpse flower, reveals her glorious bloom and stench. The camera at the base of the flower is taking photos every few seconds to capture the changes in the male and female flowers. In the pot to the left of Maladora you can see another of her kind that turned into one giant leaf; it will not bloom for several more years.

Though Titun Arum may appear to be one giant flower, it is actually a collection of minute male and female flowers surrounding a central stalk called the spadix. The plant alternates producing one large leaf, or blooming, that is only open for a couple of days. Native to Sumatra, the corpse flower is rare and most in existence today will be found in botanical gardens like Berkeley.

Photo courtesy of the UC botanical gardens

The Botanical Gardens currently has one of the most diverse landscapes in the world, with over 10,000 collected species. If you are interested in visiting and seeing awesome plants like the Corpse Flower, stop by with your student ID, or pay a $10 fee to visit the garden any day of the week between 9 and 5 p.m.

For more information and pictures of Maladora’s display: http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/titan-arum

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