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Titan arum time lapse

‘Wee Stinky’ draws crowds to Cornell – The towering titan arum
(Amorphophallus titanum) attracted about 10,000 visits, including more than 3,500 on March 19 alone. Read more in the Cornell Chronicle.

Time lapse:

Shows spathe opening on March 18, 2012. Audio description by graduate student Gwynne Lim is from March 19. Larger version at CornellCast. HD version coming next week.

The spadix collapsed on March 22, 2012. Don’t fret. Ph.D. candidate Gwynne Lim told me early that day that it was hollow and could go over anytime. “We went to the greenhouse early this afternoon and the appendix was ripping at the seams just above the male flowers,” says Lim. “It looks so sad.” View the 7-hour collapse in 30 seconds below or on YouTube.

More information at the Titan arum blog.

In the news

frank rossiCornell to make green mark on 2016 Olympics [Cornell Chronicle 3/12/2012] – When golf makes its return to the Olympics in 2016, Cornell alumnus Gil Hanse and horticulture professor Frank Rossi (right) will have their green thumbprints all over the specially designed Rio de Janeiro course.

Rare ‘corpse plant’ preparing to bloom on campus [Cornell Chronicle 3/13/2012] – The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) has a bloom that has been recorded only 140 times in cultivation. The one about to bloom in Ken Post Lab greenhouses will make it 141. “It isn’t a common occurrence,” said Melissa Luckow, associate professor of plant biology, who brought the seeds to Cornell in 2002. “It’s really an event.”

Farmers Wait To See Mild Winter’s Effect On Crops [Jamestown Post-Journal 2/13/2012] – “People shouldn’t be worried about the cold weather. They should be worried about the warm weather. Fifty degrees is the magic number. If temperatures get above 50, it could cause significant damage,” says Ian Merwin, in a story about how the mild winter could affect crops. According to Merwin, fruit crops can withstand the cold, but not after a week or more of warm weather.

Titan arum flowering at Ken Post Lab

Update: For the latest news and information, visit the Titan Arum blog.

Update 3/16 11:30 a.m.: Visiting hours have been extended to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until the arum blooms, and then staying open until 11 p.m. while blooming. We should have a good idea by mid-afternoon Friday if it will bloom tonight, but it looks more likely that it will be Saturday or Sunday night.

From Andy Leed, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences greenhouse manager 3/13/2012:

This titan arum, Amorphophallus titanum, is preparing to flower in the Kenneth Post Lab Greenhouses at Cornell University. On March 13, the unopened inflorescence measured 57 inches long. In recent days it’s been growing about 2 inches daily.

These plants, native only to Sumatra, bloom very infrequently, and then only for one or two nights before collapsing. It’s difficult to predict accurately, but the inflorescence will probably open within days. Until it opens, there’s no noticeable odor. After that there’s little doubt where the name “Corpse Flower” comes from.

For more information, see:


This Titan arum is part of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory collection, and is temporarily located in Green Greenhouse 114, attached to Kenneth Post Lab on Tower Road. It will be available for viewing by the public:

  • Wednesday, 3/14: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Thursday, 3/15: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Friday, 3/16: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Weekend hours to be determined

The schedule may change. See for the latest schedule. Additional nighttime hours will be added when the arum flowers. Cornell plant biologists and horticulturalists are welcome anytime the facility is open (8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Friday).

Please be careful not to disturb the plant or the photographic equipment.

Stream videos at Ustream

Pritts honored by strawberry growers

Gail Nonnecke and Marvin Pritts with their awards at the NASGA annual meeting.

Gail Nonnecke and Marvin Pritts with their awards at the NASGA annual meeting.

Department of Horticulture chair Marvin Pritts was recognized with a Lifetime Recognition Award by the North American Strawberry Growers Association (NASGA) at their annual meeting February 6-8 in Las Vegas, Nev. Gail Nonnecke, Department of Horticulture, Iowa State University, was also honored.

NASGA board member Bill Jacobson cited Pritts’ and Nonnecke’s service a co-chairs of the NASGA Research Committee since 1991 and frequent contributions to the association’s education programs. “I know that our organization is forever in their debt,” says Jacobson.

Congratulations Marvin!

Rossi plays key role in design of 2016 Rio Olympics golf course

Frank RossiWhen the design by Gil Hanse (MLA ’89) was selected Wednesday for the 2016 Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro, one of the people he thanked was Department of Horticulture turf specialist Frank Rossi “…for creating an environmentally-sustainable golf course template that will set the standards for this emerging golf market.”

Two ways to make golf courses more sustainable are to reduce the amount of managed turf and use native plants in the rest of the landscape, says Rossi.

“We’ve discussed what goes into a sustainable golf course and Gil incorporated some of that into his planning,” says Rossi. “I also helped develop the grassing plan for the playable areas and researched native vegetation of the Cerrado ecoregion for the roughs.”

Hanse said his team’s “respect for the land” helped set them apart in the selection process. “We like to build golf courses that are very environmentally sensitive,” he added.

Golf has not been an Olympic sport since 1904. Its return at the 2016 Games will help shine a spotlight on this eco-friendly course. “During the Olympics, the whole world will see that it’s possible to design a course that’s challenging for professionals, playable by amateurs and with less environmental impact,” says Rossi.

See also Associated Press story: Gil Hanse to design 2016 Rio course

NY Agriculture in the Classroom seeks Coordinator

logoNew York Agriculture in the Classroom is based at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Our mission is to foster awareness, understanding, and appreciation of how we produce food and fiber, what we eat, and how we live, by helping educators, students, and their communities learn about and engage with agriculture and food systems. Established in 1985, New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) is a partnership of Cornell University, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the NYS Education Department, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the New York Farm Bureau. We work with pre-k through middle school teachers, Cornell Cooperative Extension and other community educators, farmers and producers, volunteers, parents, and community partners to increase agricultural literacy in New York State. You can learn more about NYAITC at our website:

Under general supervision of the Director of the Ag Outreach and Education Program and PI Dr. Travis Park, the Coordinator will take ownership of developing the program, field implementation, and in-service training for all stake holders of AITC in NYS. Agriculture in the Classroom programs is implemented by state-operated programs. USDA Agriculture in the Classroom supports state programs by providing a network that seeks to improve agricultural literacy — awareness, knowledge, and appreciation — among PreK-12 teachers and their students.

Read the full job description.

Applicants must submit materials through the Cornell Jobs website:

Seminar video: Reputation spill-overs: Examining consumers’ valuation of wine regions and varietals

If you missed Brad Rickard’s seminar, Reputation spill-overs: Examining consumers’ valuation of wine regions and varietals , it’s now available online.

Horticulture in Upstate Gardeners Journal

The March-April 2012 issue of Upstate Gardeners’ Journal features a story by Michelle Sutton (née Buckstrup, M.S. ’00), Love letter to the mother ship (pages 14-17). “Cornell is a beacon for New York gardeners,” writes Sutton. “It’s a source of definitive information for all things horticultural.” Read the whole article.

Strawberry lovers, prepare to meet the sweet, new Purple Wonder

Cornell University news release:

'Purple Wonder' strawberry's (left) deep burgundy color extends throughout the fruit.  Click image for larger view.

'Purple Wonder' (left) strawberry's deep burgundy color extends throughout the fruit. Click image for larger view.

ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell’s newest and darkest strawberry variety – Purple Wonder – is making its debut at the Philadelphia International Flower Show on Monday through an exclusive licensing agreement with seed giant W. Atlee Burpee Co.

“Purple Wonder is sweet and aromatic, with outstanding strawberry flavor,” said Courtney Weber, Cornell small fruits breeder and associate professor of horticulture. “But the color is something you won’t be able to find in any grocery store.”

The medium-sized berries reward patience in picking: Berries turn from creamy-white to red before ripening into an intense burgundy.

“The color develops all the way through the fruit, which might surprise consumers accustomed to supermarket fruit with color mostly on the surface,” said Weber. “And letting the fruit ripen on the plant just makes the berries sweeter.”

The berries and their purple juice can also be used to produce deep colored preserves and strawberry wine, and Purple Wonder’s high antioxidant content gives them a healthy boost.

Burpee’s lead horticulturist Grace Romero approached Weber last March, seeking something new and different to offer to home berry growers. The variety was market-ready, having been selected by Weber in 1999 and evaluated by growers in New York, Michigan and Illinois. Weber hopes Burpee will help Purple Wonder find its niche in backyard plots and patio pots.

Because the plants do not produce many runners, they are particularly appropriate for container gardening. Hardy enough for central New York, Purple Wonder should do well across temperate areas in the United States. Weber cautions that we are not the only mammals who find the fruit irresistible: squirrels and chipmunks have a taste for them, too.

According to Jessica Lyga, the Plant Varieties and Germplasm Licensing Associate for the Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization, a plant patent will be filed for Purple Wonder later this year. Purple Wonder is the 42nd strawberry variety released by the Cornell small fruits breeding program. Other recent releases include the ‘Herriot’ strawberry, a high-yielding midseason variety, and the ‘Crimson Giant’ raspberry, suitable for high-tunnel cropping systems and November harvest.

Weber breeds for adaptation to the temperate climates of the Northeast and Midwest as well as disease and insect resistance but readily admits that good flavor is the ultimate criteria.

“Let’s face it: Berries often get eaten on the way home from the farmers market,” he said.

Berries will be available for tasting at Weber’s field days during the summer, and gardeners interested in Purple Wonder can purchase plants from Burpee

View articles at the Cornell Chronicle, Huffington Post and other sites.

Climate change: A review of the evidence

David Wolfe will be leading the conversation at Keeton House March 8:


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