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Kiwi Earl

World's largest flower blooms....

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Hi everyone

The largest flower on the planet has just bloomed for the first time here in New Zealand at Auckland Domain's Wintergardens public display greenhouses. For those not familiar with the species, endemic to Sumatra, Amorphophallus titanum has a seven year flowering cycle and the staff at the Wintergardens were awaiting with baited breath the possibility of a flower emerging from the dormant corm. The first visible growth of the flower bud was met with much excitement and the specimen produced a beauty of an example of the species with the height to the top of the central spadix being 2.5 metres.

The opening of the bloom was publicly announced and vast numbers of people visited the warm house in single file to view it during the flower's viable 48 hour period. I viewed it two days in a row, the first when it was in optimal bloom; the second when it had started to shut up shop. If you are not aware of it, the flower expresses a rotting mammal aroma in order to attract pollinators, hence one of its common names, Corpse Flower. The smell was reasonably strong on my first visit but was absent the next day. If you are new to the subject, an on-line search will fill you in on the biology of A. titanum without me going into detail here.

Suffice to say, it was a cool sight. Here are some pics: the first two taken by my mate Bruce.

IMG_6875smallMedium_zps3696f1af.jpg

IMG_6883smallMedium_zpsf5d36555.jpg

IMG_9395Medium_zps0f50ef41.jpg

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Fantastic pictures Earl, thanks very much for sharing...very envious of you being able to see this :good2:

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It actually isn't the "largest flower", it's an inflorescence (not the largest inflorescence either). It has multiple male and female flowers along the spadix. The spadix you could liken to a flower stem, except flowers are at the base rather than the top. This is surrounded by the spathe, a modified leaf. So what some people think is a flower is more like a bunch of flowers in a wrapper (spathe). This is typical of all Aroids.

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It actually isn't the "largest flower", it's an inflorescence (not the largest inflorescence either). It has multiple male and female flowers along the spadix. The spadix you could liken to a flower stem, except flowers are at the base rather than the top. This is surrounded by the spathe, a modified leaf. So what some people think is a flower is more like a bunch of flowers in a wrapper (spathe). This is typical of all Aroids.

I used the term flower in a colloquial sense, a mistake on my part. Of course, you are correct.

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Yes indeed, here is a link to photos of the World's Largest Flowers, and it is not an Aroid! These are Rafflesia.

https://www.google.com/search?q=rafflesia&safe=off&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=TxGhUoKnF4uusASchIGwAw&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1440&bih=783

Amorphophallus titanum is indeed the World's Largest Inflorescence though.

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You'll find that A. titanum might be the largest inflorescence amongst herbaceous plants, but the largest inflorescence is that of Corypha umbraculifera, a palm.

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In any case you are very lucky for that sight

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I'd love to actually see one in flower, pictures only go so far. They will flower with a smaller inflorescence, if the tuber is mature enough but only of a small size. That's where botanic gardens have an advantage, they have the resources (and finances) to give them the TLC they like. They're very susceptible to nematodes so can be difficult to keep in the ground. So to get the really giant sized tubers (for giant sized inflorescences) you have to have giant sized pots. I have 3 plants at home and hope to have one flowering in the near future. I'll be happy to have that happen, although the size won't be there.

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Rafflesia arnolidii from Sumatra is the largest flower.

A. titanum, also from Sumatra, has a large inflorescence but inside are lots of small flowers. Its bassically the same design as a Zanthedischia, Arisaema or Arum maculatum inflorescence

Alexander

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