Last fall one the specimens of Amorphophallus titanum flowered in the Bogor Botanic Garden. Of course, by the time the Jakarta Post had managed to report that it was happening and we went along to take a look, the flower was looking a little droopy!
The titan arum has the largest inflorescence in the plant kingdom. The pollinator for this plant are carrion flies that are attracted by the smell of rotting meat that the flower produces (we were too late to enjoy this aspect!). The flower lasts just a few days and flowering is irregular and happens only infrequently (once every several years) so we were lucky to see this one.
This spring we visited the garden again while Simon was visiting us and went to look at the vegetative phase. It is still looking pretty impressive. The vegetative phase is basically a single leaf that is about the size of a tree! Underground is a large tuber that produces either a leaf or a flower, never both at once.
Right now, one of the specimens at Kew Gardens in London (that’s England, not Ontario!) is flowering. Check out http://www.kew.org/plants/titan/flowerings.html