Titan arum Facts

Titan arum Facts
Titan arum is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the arum family. It can be found only on Sumatra and Indonesian archipelago. Titan arum grows in the rainforests. It prefers steep hillsides on the altitude of 410 to 1200 feet. Destruction of the rainforests, over-collecting from the wild and lack of natural pollinators are responsible for the sharp decline in the number of titan arum in the wild. Titan arum is classified as vulnerable (it can become endangered in the near future).
Interesting Titan arum Facts:
Titan arum develops one, tree-like gigantic leaf. Petiole can reach 20 feet in height. Umbrella-shaped leaf composed of numerous leaflets can be 15 feet wide.
Titan arum replaces old leaf with new one each year (usually after pause of 4 months).
Titan arum has enormously large tuber that can weigh up to 200 pounds.
Titan arum produces the largest inflorescence in the world. It can reach 10 feet in height and 3 to 4 feet in diameter.
Titan arum blooms usually once every 2 to 7 years. Most plants produce 4 to 6 flowers in a lifetime. Flower bud appears on the forest floor and develops at incredible speed.
Inflorescence develops on top of the 10 to 14 inches tall stout stalk. It consists of large, petal-like structure called "spathe" and huge, hollow spike known as "spadix" which bears flowers.
Spathe looks like upturned bell. It has deeply furrowed texture and frilly margins. Spathe is green on the outside, burgundy red from the inside.
Yellowish-brown upper part of the spadix (which grows above the spathe) does not contain flowers. Thousands of individual male and female flowers develop on the lower portion of the spadix which is surrounded and protected with spathe.
Titan arum emits pungent smell, which resembles the smell of rotting meat, to attract dung and sweat beetles and flesh flies, which are responsible for the pollination of the flowers. Plant also produces heat (via degradation of carbohydrates) to intensify the smell of the flowers.
Female flowers reach maturity first. Male flowers open one or two days later to prevent self-pollination. Inflorescence lasts only 2 to 3 day due to loss of energy used for heating of the plant (tip of the spadix can reach temperature of the human body).
Fruit of titan arum is bright red berry. Fruit are arranged in cylindrical clusters that can reach 19.6 inches in length.
Hornbills (type of birds) eat fruit and facilitate dispersal of seed.
Titan arum is also known as "corpse flower" due to unpleasant smell of the flowers.
Substances responsible for the pungent smell of titan arum are the same ones that are responsible for the unpleasant smell of sweaty socks, rotting fish, mothballs and limburger cheese.
Titan arum is perennial plant that can survive up to 40 years in the wild.

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