By pure coincidence in timing, one of the most unusual and rare tubers in the world, Amorphophallus titanum, will be on display courtesy of Friends of the Garden at the Springfield Lawn & Garden Show beginning today.
Dr. Bill Roston, whose idea it was to create the Butterfly House at Close Memorial Park, has been nurturing the tuber in hopes of it coming out of dormancy. It must have been planning for the show, because it's now in the beginning stages of creating it's bloom. Not only does it have one of the largest flowering structures in the world (inflorescence), it's most famous for it's stench. Don't worry, it's not odoriferous now, only for the few hours when the bloom is open.
This amazing plant is expected to reach full bloom in roughly three weeks, follow the FOG blog to stay informed of it's progress – and of it's showing, which if it achieves bloom, will be posted to the FOG Calendar and Facebook.
"On August 2, 1999 an Amorphophallus titanum achieved full bloom at the Huntington Botanic Garden in San Marino, California. This was only the 11th recorded bloom in the United States and the first ever in California. Equally astonishing was the number of people who came to visit this magnificent plant on the peak day of its blooming period, over 10,000 admirers. They waited patiently in a long line in 80-90 degree heat, a line that at one time extended the length of two football fields (or about 200 meters). Some people wore protective nose masks, and one boy even wore a gas mask. Actually, no one was overcome by the stench (the plant was roped off to prevent people from getting their faces too close to the funnel-shaped spathe)."
For more information on this fascinating plant, see the following:
1) 'Corpse Flower' Blooms, Ends Smelly Peak: pdf
2) Amorphophallus titanum: History & Statistics: pdf
3) Two page information sheet from Kew Gardens, London: pdf