The people of Basel, Switzerland, were recently treated to the brief reappearance of the world’s largest and possibly foulest flower. This awesome flower comes with a pungent punch, but that doesn’t seem to keep the crowds away. Titan Arum ( Amorphophallus titanum ), a native to Sumatra, bears an inflorescence of monster proportions. This one reaching a whooping 7.54593 feet tall. Blooming occurs years apart and beginning in early October, the plant sent out its bud to the great excitement of, the Botanical Garden of the Univ. of Basel, where it resides.
Slowly the flower grew, while 4,000 people visited to see the progress. On the afternoon of Nov 19th, the flower blossomed and was open for a day before slowly closing during the next two days. While open, 8,000 more people came to take in the sight and were undeterred by its smell of rotting meat. Last night the center of the flower, its piston, collapsed. To help ensure a better bloom, the staff pollinated the plant by hand, using pollen from the Botanical Garden of Bonn, Germany. They anticipate results for early 2015. The plant recently bloomed in 2011, however it had been a long wait before that one. The bloom previous, happened in 1936.
The Titan Arum tour continues for two more days, free of charge. Those who could not be there were able to catch a glimpse via the webcam, which will continue being updated for a while.
The plant comes from a tuber and once that attains a size of 20 kg, it may start to flower. The plant dies back and the tuber rests, before the bud starts to emerge. Below is the life cycle of the Titan, timed in months.
The people of Basel have a fondness for their famous botanical resident. The plant is even represented in the local Carnival Parade.