Corpse flower heats up to exude an odor perfect for Halloween

The the corpse flower, Amorphophallus titanum,  a rarity from Sumatra’s jungle has finished blooming in the greenhouse of the University of Wisconsin-Madison botany department.

The 8-foot flower structure with the largest unbranched flower  head in the world also has the worst putrid perfume, like dung and rotting flesh.

The female phase of flowering which is what you are seeing in the image on the left is reputed to give off wave after wave of nauseating chemicals.

An analysis of the odors exuded showed the presence of skatoles and various other nasty-smelling sulfur compounds. These odors attracted legions of house flies to the Wisconsin greenhouse. this is the Corpse flowers style of insect pollination.

This female corpse flower open first for a couple of days, then, the male flowers open attracting even more  beetles and houseflies, which deposit eggs in decaying flesh.they help pollinate this odiferous plant.

And why would an old-world corpse flower attract New-World flies? Because, Givnish opines, death smells the same the world over… – David Tenenbaum




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