The Titan Arum – also called the “Corpse Flower” because of its rotting flesh like odour – at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland has produced a huge bud, which experts believe could eventually bloom.
The bud, which is growing by several centimetres a day, is similar to a growth spurt in 2011, which turned out to be just a new leaf. Sadie Barber, senior horticulturist at the garden, said that if the bud turns out to be a flower, it will be for the first time in Scotland.
The plant is known to grow a new bud from its underground tuber and everytime that happens, it either forms a new leaf or a flower. According to Barber, in cae of the plant at the Royal Botanic Garden, it is still too early to tell which it will be this time.
“What will happen is that one of the sheaths that create the bud will eventually open up to reveal either floral parts or leaf parts”, she said.
If the bud does turn out to be a flower, visiting the glasshouse where it is housed will be challenging because of the strong pungent smell, like a decaying corpse. The strong smell of the flower attracts carrion beetles and other insects, which help in pollination.
The excitement surrounding the plant is growing almost as fast as the plant itself, which according to records is about eight centimetres every day. Experts at the garden have been keeping a close eye on the 13-year-old plant, which only produces its distinctive bloom every seven to ten years, and then for just ?48 hours.