Titan arums are true giants amongst flowering plants: the circumference of their huge flowers can be over three metres and they stand three metres high and the single leaf grows to the size of a small tree. Their smell, likened to rotting meat, is so bad it led to the common name 'corpse flower'. Both the 'fragance' and the flower's meat-colouration attract pollinators - carrion flies and beetles. The common name was given by Sir David Attenborough during the filming of the Private Life of Plants series.
Scientific name: Amorphophallus titanum
The titan arum produces the world's largest flower.
Usually film crews head off to film natural history that is known and understood. But occasionally, they discover something new to science. While filming the short life of this giant flower, the tiny bees responsible for pollinating it came to light. Sir David gave the flower its common name - the titan arum - for the television script, as the scientific name was a bit of a mouthful and sounded rather rude. The titan arum is also a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence (a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem) in the world.
The Titan arum can be found in a number of locations including: Asia. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Titan arum distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Amorphophallus titanum (from Ancient Greek amorphos, "without form, misshapen" + phallos, "phallus", and titan, "giant" ), known as the titan arum, is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world. The titan arum's inflorescence is not as large as that of the talipot palm, Corypha umbraculifera, but the inflorescence of the talipot palm is branched rather than unbranched.
Due to its odor, which is reminiscent of the smell of a decomposing mammal, the titan arum is characterized as a carrion flower, and is also known as the "corpse flower", or "corpse plant" (Indonesian: bunga bangkai – bunga means flower, while bangkai means corpse or cadaver). For the same reason, the title "corpse flower" is also attributed to the genus Rafflesia which, like the titan arum, grows in the rainforests of Sumatra.
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