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Peter de Cupere wrote about his trip to the Botanic Garden Meise, Belgium, and i wanted to share his story! He went to smell the Amorphophallus, which typically requires at least 7 years before it blooms. He says that it’s an amazing strong scent, not so pleasant 😉 Here some more background info of the fascinating flower.

Amorphophallus (phallos, “penis”, referring to the shape of the prominent spadix), is a large genus of some 200 tropical and subtropical tuberous herbaceous plants from the Arum family, native to Asia, Africa, Australia and various oceanic islands. A few species are edible as “famine foods” after careful preparation to remove irritating chemicals.

Once the spathe opens, pollination must happen the same day. In many species, the inflorescence emits a scent of decaying flesh in order to attract insects, though a number of species give off a pleasant odor.

Through a number of ingenious insect traps, pollinating insects are kept inside the spathe to deposit pollen on the female flowers, which stay receptive for only one day, while the male flowers are still closed.

These open the next day, but by then the female flowers are no longer receptive and so self-pollination is avoided. The male flowers shower the trapped insects with pollen. Once the insects escape, they can then pollinate another flower.

You can see a time lapse here:

There are so many fascinating flowers out there! Let’s keep our eyes open! Yours, Fran

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