THE world’s smelliest flower is set to bloom for the first time in Scotland.
The giant Amorphophallus Titanum, or Titan arum as named by Sir David Attenborough, rarely flowers in the wild, let alone in captivity.
But staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh have been carefully looking after the giant plant and it is set to flower in a matter of weeks.
Also known as the
“corpse flower’ because it gives off a stench of rotting meat to attract insects, the plant is already a world record-breaker.
Before it started to bud the corm of the plant tipped the scales at a massive 153.95 kilograms which beat the pervious world record of 117 kilograms held by Bonn Botanic Gardens in Germany.
Now the bud is around 8cm tall and staff are hoping for another record when it flowers.
Doctor Max Coleman, science communicator at the gardens, said:
“It’s exciting. We just need to keep people updated. If people want to see this in Edinburgh, they are not going to get a chance until another ten years.
“The thinking would be if you have a really big corm then it will be a particularly large flower. “
The plant is indigenous to Sumatra’s rainforests in Indonesia and recently bloomed at the University of Basel in Switzerland attracting worldwide attention.
Doctor Coleman added:
“It’s flowered a few times globally in the wild and in various botanic gardens but never in Scotland.
“There is only one day that it will be at its peak. The flower will grow to its maximum height and the next day it will start to look a bit sorry for itself.
“It really is only one day as far as the public is concerned. “
But Doctor Coleman is warning people who come along to be prepared for the stench.
“The flower heats up and the reason it does this is it gives off a horrible smell to attract insects for pollination.
“The heating up is a way of helping that smell to disperse. This only happens for a few nights.
“If people visit the day after the first night then the smell will be pretty bad.”
Staff at the gardens are borrowing a thermal imaging camera from Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service so that they can see the activity of the plant at night.
The plant is currently kept in the greenhouse at the gardens at a temperature of 20-25 degrees centigrade.
When the plant heats up the temperature will rise by about another ten degrees.
And Doctor Coleman said that they may also borrow some oxygen masks from the fire service so that they can cope with the smell.
It is hoped that the flower will open sometime between 27 May to 6 June but the exact date cannot be determined yet.
Information will be posted at www.rbge.org.uk