Between Friday, June 15 and Wednesday, June 20, Franklin Park Zoo welcomed 15,800 visitors to the greenhouse to see Morticia the corpse flower. Thank you to everyone who came to see this extraordinary plant!
Above photo taken at about 6:40 p.m. on June 19, 2012
The photo below was taken at 6:20 a.m. on June 20, 2012.
Visitors to Franklin Park Zoo recently had a rare opportunity to see a titan arum in bloom in what could've been a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see this giant of the plant world on full display.
Called the Amorphophallus titanum — better known as a titan arum or corpse flower (due to its production of a very pungent aroma like that of a rotting carcass), these are among the most gigantic of flowers – blooms are potentially 9 feet in height and 6 feet across. The plant at the Zoo began to open up in the evening of June 19 and was in full bloom by June 20, 2012.
A greenhouse with humidity and temperature controls was constructed to accommodate this enormous plant, which has been named Morticia by Zoo staff. The greenhouse closed to the public at 8:00 p.m. on June 20, 2012.
Titan arums are very sensitive plants and conditions must be just right for them to bloom. These plants are noted for rapid growth particularly as they near bloom, which can be 4 to 5 inches a day.
Originating from Sumatra, the corpse flower has demanding environmental requirements. This rarely observed blooming phenomenon often goes many years between blooms which last for only 24-48 hours. In the wild, these plants are scattered and the pungent smell can attract pollinators from quite a distance away.
The titan arum was generously donated to the Zoo by Dr. Louis Ricciardiello, an oral surgeon in Laconia, New Hampshire, who has been growing and cultivating these plants for many years.