After many days of cautious predictions, Cornell’s Titan arum “Wee Stinky” began to flower on the afternoon of Friday October 14th, reaching its maximally open and aromatic state late Friday evening. To accommodate visitors, hours of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory were extended until past 9:00 pm on Friday and from 10:00 am – 9:00 pm Saturday, October 15th.
While Wee Stinky and Carolus, Cornell’s second Titan arum, have been blooming regularly in recent years, this is the first to bloom in the beautiful new Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory. The nearby presence of Carolus in its vegetative state added significantly to visitors’ appreciation of the life cycle of this amazing plant.
Amorphophallus titanum (Titan arum, corpse plant) is native to the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, where its habitat is threatened by deforestation. It has the largest unbranched flowering structure (inflorescence) of any plant. In cultivation, it generally takes 7-10 years for the first bloom.
The 2016 flowering of Wee Stinky attracted significant interest across campus and beyond, educating many about the biology of this fascinating plant as well as the important scientific contributions made by plant scientists. It is estimated that between 1500 and 2000 visitors passed through the Conservatory over the weekend, with over 1000 handouts distributed. The CALS Communications interview with Rob Raguso has been viewed over 9000 times as of Sunday evening with over 16,000 views of the live stream.
The success of this event owes everything to the time and effort of many individuals including Paul Cooper, Andy Leed, Craig Cramer, Anja Timm, Ed Cobb, Karl Niklas, Rob Raguso, Bill Crepet, Jenn Thomas-Murphy, Tara Reed, Patty Chan, Nicolas Glynos, Zachary Stansell, Kyle Martin, Carrie Sanzone, Ken Stuart, Robert Barker, Matt Hayes, Daryl Lovell, Ellen Levantry, Melissa Brechner, and Laurence Walsh
- Cornell’s Titan arum blog
- Video of Rob Raguso (Cornell Department of Entomology) describing Titan arum biology
- Cornell Chronicle coverage: Bigger than ever, Cornell corpse flower poised to bloom
- Ithaca Journal coverage