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Cornell Chronicle: Titan arum blooms outside for first time

Both the Cornell Chronicle and CALS News reported this week on Carolus’s historic bloom:

Carolus in full bloom at dawn August 8, 2017.

Carolus in full bloom at dawn August 8, 2017.

Summer breezes wafting through Cornell’s Minns Garden carried the aromas of fresh grass, notes of floral and, for a few days in August, something akin to rotting meat.

Yet the chance to experience that repugnant odor drew thousands of visitors to the garden near the Plant Science Building. The reason: Carolus, one of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Titan arums (Amorphophallus titanum), as the giant, smelly tropical plant also known as a corpse flower bloomed outdoors for the first time ever in a region outside of the tropics.

Carolus started its dramatic show Aug. 7, unleashing its mighty rotten-meat stench that, in the sweltering forests of Sumatra, Indonesia, attracts flies, carrion beetles and other pollinators looking for a snack and a place to lay eggs.

Coaxing the plant to bloom outside in the cool of an Ithaca summer takes a lot of nerve and a little luck, said Paul Cooper, the greenhouse grower for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES), who cares for Cornell’s two flowering-sized Titan arums.

Read the whole article.

Carolus waning. Carolus dancing.

Carolus continues to wane Friday morning.

Carolus continues to wane Friday morning.

Thanks to all who stopped by this week to visit Carolus blooming in Minns Garden (map) .

Carolus continues to wane, but will remain outside at least through the weekend if you’d like to take one last look. Soon, Conservatory staff will move the pot inside where the underground corm will remain dormant for a few months before putting out a single huge leaf to begin recharging the corm for next flowering.

Many visitors this week who had visited during previous Titan arum flowerings remarked how different the plant looked outside in a more natural setting. Another big difference: There’s no wind in the Conservatory. Outside, Carolus’s spathe was free to dance in the breeze.

 

Visit our Titan arum video playlist to view timelapse and educational videos from previous flowerings.

Carolus: Spadix collapsing

Overnight, the tip of Carolus’s spadix tipped over as it continues to dry down. (That’s entirely normal and expected.) There’s still a bit of the arum’s trademark aroma lingering. Stop by Minns Garden (map) for a look.

Carolus's spadix tipped over.

Carolus’s spadix tipped over.

 

Carolus: No longer (as) stinky

Carolus Wednesday morning at 7 a.m.

Carolus Wednesday morning at 7 a.m.

‘Wee Stinky’– one of two flowering-sized Titan arums in the Conservatory’s collection — towering in its vegetative stage in the Palm House near the doorway to the Student House.

‘Wee Stinky’– one of two flowering-sized Titan arums in the Conservatory’s collection — towering in its vegetative stage in the Palm House near the doorway to the Student House.

After putting on a stinky show for visitors to Minns Garden (map) on Tuesday, Carolus has lost most of it’s stink.

The Titan arum reached peak bloom outside early Tuesday morning. The spathe — dancing in the breeze — dried down steadily as the day progressed and is nearly totally desiccated this morning.

But the spadix is still standing and will likely stay upright for at least a few days. It’s hard to know for sure because this is the first time we’ve ever done this outside.

If you stop by for a look, you can also visit Carolus’s sibling Wee Stinky in full leaf touring into the rafters of the nearby Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.  Conservatory hours at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. most weekdays.

Carolus looking good — and still stinky

We weren’t sure how Carolus would respond to cool Ithaca temperatures. But the spathe unfurled fully and the Titan arum continues to emit its carrion-like odor to attract pollinators. Stop by Minns Garden (map) today for an up-close look — and smell.

An early morning photo shoot.

An early morning photo shoot.