Amorphophallus titanum – Hulu Kuantan, Indonesia - Atlas Obscura

Amorphophallus titanum

Hulu Kuantan, Indonesia

A monster in the plant world, up to 10 feet tall and smelling of death. 


Translated literally, Amorphophallus titanum means “giant misshapen penis.” And while the genus Rafflesia may include the world’s largest flower, this titan lays claim to the largest unbranched cluster of flowers in the world. At full size, the titan can reach over 10 feet in circumference and stand 9 and a half feet tall.

Known commonly as a “corpse flower” or “carrion flower”, the titan releases a scent that smells almost exactly like a corpse, and also gives off a fair amount of heat, which helps to strengthen the decaying-carrion illusion, both of which help the plant attract insect pollinators. The Amorphophallus is a distant relative of the other gigantic “corpse flower”, the Rafflesia arnoldii.

Although the flower is naturally found only in Indonesia, since 1889 they have been successfully cultivated in botanical gardens around the world including Kew Gardens in London and the University of Washington, Seattle


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June 20, 2009

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