Pungent plant set to bloom again

A rare and pungent bloom will soon emerge again at the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

Winter Garden Plant Collection Curator, Stephen Bishop, says there’s no doubt the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) has started to produce a rare and odorous bloom - but exactly when the flower will open is somewhat more difficult to predict.

“It looks like the flower will open in mid-January. Once this happens, it only lasts 24 to 36 hours. Amorphophallus titanum has one of the world's largest flowers and is well known for the pungent fragrance it produces after the flower opens.

"The nauseating smell has been compared to rotting flesh. Its smell is nature’s way of enticing insects for pollination,” he said.

The plant was gifted to the Dunedin Botanic Garden in 2008 but only flowered for the first time a...
The plant was gifted to the Dunedin Botanic Garden in 2008 but only flowered for the first time a decade later. Photo: ODT files

The plant was gifted to the Dunedin Botanic Garden in 2008 and this will be the second time it has bloomed.

For most of its life the plant regularly produces a single leaf the size of a small tree, up to 6m tall and 4m wide in the wild. When it first flowered in January 2018, it drew thousands of visitors.

“There has been a lot of local interest already and some people are regularly visiting to watch its progress.”

For those wanting a look before the flower opens, the plant is now on display in the Winter Garden Glasshouse. It can be viewed between 10am-4pm daily.

When the flower opens, viewing hours will be extended to 8am-8pm.

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