Cambridge's smelliest flower showcased at the Botanic Gardens

Image credit: Melbcity

The university's Botanic Gardens were filled with what has been described as the smell of "rotting flesh" on Monday, June 26th, the first night of the bloom of one of its species, Amorphophallus titanum, more affectionately termed Titus the Titan. The flower has been described as "Cambridge's smelliest", releasing its pungent sulfurous compounds to attract pollinators. 

Alongside the key attraction of its smell, visitors will also be able to see the 'white-tipped spadix emerging from the embracing spathe, which is currently a ruff of lime-green folds, but which will gradually mature to a purple-brown colour', so describes the Botanic Gardens.

This native of Sumatra is a rare flower, given the difficulty of growing it. The Gardens describe the process of cultivation as 'requir[ing] a high temperature along with high humidity to flourish, and also sufficient space to develop a large tuber, and in which to accommodate the flower.' Consequently, 'considerable horticultural skill and knowledge is required to nurture this species from dormancy to flower.' 

Given its rarity, the Titus has been categorised as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

This is the third flowering of the rare flower Titus in the Botanic Gardens, with previous flowerings in 2015 and 2004. 

Visitors can experience the putrid scent for themselves tonight, on June 27th, the last night of the showcase.

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