Corpse Flower

Genus and species: Amorphophallus titanum

Common names: Flor Cadáver (Corpse Flower), Titan Arum, "bunga bangkai" (Indonesian for "corpse" or "cadaver flower")

Characteristics and Habitat:

  • Native to Sumatra, Indonesia; endangered due to habitat loss with fewer than 1,000 individuals in the wild
  • The plant grows from an underground tuber called a corm, which stores energy
  • Corms must weigh at least 20 lbs to bloom; the largest recorded corm is 339 lbs

Growth Cycle:

  • Sprouts a large leaf stalk, remaining for 12-18 months before dying back and going dormant for ~6 months
  • This cycle repeats for 5-10 years before the plant blooms
  • Blooming frequency varies and is unpredictable; the flower smells like rotting flesh to attract carrion flies/beetles for pollination
  • The flower stays open for 24-48 hours before wilting
  • Cataphylls drying and falling off signal the flower will open in 2-3 days

Blooming Process:

  • Spadix structure heats up (90-98°F) to release odor and attract pollinators
  • Male and female flowers grow in rings around the spadix base; female flowers open first, followed by male flowers to prevent self-pollination

Mitchell Park Domes Conservatory Bloom Timeline:

  • Original corm obtained from UW Madison's greenhouse around 2007. Parks have 8 cloned off-shoot corms
  • "Pepe le Pew" initial bloom June 2018
  • "Pig Pen" initial bloom July 2021
  • "Stinkerbelle" initial bloom August 2021
  • "Musky" initial bloom July 2023
  • "U'Reeka" initial bloom May 2024
  • "Penelope" initial bloom June 2024
  • "Pepe le Pew" second bloom (6 years after initial) alongside "Penelope" in June 2024
" Pepe Le Pew" Corpse Flower Bloom June 2018
"Pig Pen" Corpse Flower Bloom July 2021
"Stinker Bell" Corpse Flower Bloom August 2021
"Musky" Corpse Flower Bloom July 2023
"U'Reeka" Corpse Flower Bloom May 2024