Corpse Flower Update! July 20, 2010

7.20.10 Amorphophallus titanum
See more photos of Lois in our Flickr set.

Well, we’re still breathlessly waiting for Lois to open her midnight purple spathe.  I had fully expected her to bloom last week while I was – unfortunately – out of town.  But she’s still teasing us.  Not to say that things have not changed.  Yesterday and even more so today one can see a noticeable loosening of the spathe around the spadix, revealing the very deep purple color inside.  The constant question is “When will she open?” But the honest answer is, we cannot say exactly.  But – it will be soon, so stayed tuned.  

Today Lois, measured 5’9” tall and about 39” around her plump midsection.  

We continue to keep the temperature very warm and the humidity high, and until she opens, will be giving her a little break from all the lights (and CO2 from all her fans) from midnight until 9 a.m.  But once she starts to bloom, even if it is after midnight, we will open the doors again – so keep checking our Corpse Flower Webcam.

A little bit about Lois’ history
Today I spoke to Tony Avent, owner of Plant Delights, the nursery from which we originally purchased Lois as a small corm.  I wanted to know a bit more of her history.  What I learned was very interesting.  Apparently Lois may have grown from a seed collected by Dr. Jim Simon, who in the early 1990’s had made it his mission to collect seeds of this plant from its native Sumatra, even though he was suffering from an ultimately fatal ailment.  His search was partially underwritten by several private plant collectors, and was featured in the David Attenborough series, “The Private Life of Plants.”  It took Simon four trips, but at last he found a fruiting plant and collected the seeds, which he distributed to several growers.  Many of the plants currently grown in the USA resulted from that collection.  A second collection was made in June 2004 by a plant collector from Thailand, and some of the younger plants in collections have come from those seeds.

When these flowers bloom it is always tremendously exciting – and gratifying to see how turned on people can get by a giant, stinky flower!

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About Nancy

Nancy is Director of the Cockrell Butterfly Center and curator of entomology. A plant ecologist by training, she specializes in the interaction between insects, especially butterflies, and plants. The tropics are her favorite habitat, and she heads south to Central and South America whenever possible.

2 thoughts on “Corpse Flower Update! July 20, 2010

  1. Did you all think she would be this tall? I have seen pictures of the 2004 Corpse plant and he wasn’t that tall. Looks like her bloom will be really wide as well…Can’t wait.

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