DATE2023.12.12 #News

Amorphophallus titanum blooms for the first time in 13 years

Disclaimer: machine translated by DeepL which may contain errors.

On the evening of December 7, 2023, at the Koishikawa Botanical Garden, a facility affiliated with the Graduate School of Science, the world's largest inflorescence of the Amorphophallus titanum bloomed for the first time in 13 years.

The Amorphophallus titanum is endemic to Sumatra, Indonesia, and this was the third bloom at Koishikawa Botanical Garden, following the first blooms in 1991 (the first in Japan) and 2010. In a normal year, the Amorphophallus titanum produces one huge leaf above the ground to photosynthesize and store nutrients in its underground tuber (potato). Flowering does not occur in cycles, and when the corms grow large enough over several years, a huge inflorescence emerges one year. The inflorescence this time was 215.5 cm tall, and the diameter of the reddish-purple bracts, which spread like petals, was 110 cm, more than 50 cm taller than the plant that flowered in 2010. Although the botanical garden staff confirmed the blooming on the morning of December 8, the time-lapse camera recordings showed that the bracts began to open around 7:00 p.m. on December 7. The famous "rotten fish smell" is strongest at night, and this smell lures pollinating insects. Towering at the center of the inflorescence is the stem end, called the appendage (the flower is inside the lower part of the appendage, covered by a flame bract), which generates heat and carries the odor farther. The world of plants is a mystery as to why it was necessary to develop such a large inflorescence in order to allow insects to carry pollen.

From December 8 to 10, the day after the blooming, the greenhouse was open for a special open-house period with extended hours, and more than 10,000 visitors came to see the powerful deformities.

On the morning of Dec. 8
Amorphophallus titanum
(Photo by Jin Murata)


(Written by Atsushi Kawakita, Professor, Botanical Gardens)