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  Amorphophallus titanum flowering at Selby Gardens
From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 1999.05.10 at 21:22:38(3345)
Here is a copy of our latest press release. The largest bud is now showing
spathe and spadix through an opening in the outer sheaths and is about 35
inches tall, growing about 3-4 inches per day. Based upon flowering data from
Fairchild Tropical Garden and Atlanta Botanical Garden, our largest bud
should be open in about 10-12 days. The smaller may be up to a week later, so
we are planning a pollination attempt. Stay tuned to our web site at:

Donna Atwood
Selby Gardens

From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 1999.05.12 at 03:08:07(3347)
Dear Donna,
GREAT NEWS!! Congrats!!! Thanks for letting me know about this 'blessed'
event!! One point, if at ALL possible, try to 'slip in' a note about Jim
Symon`s roll in bringing the seeds of these wonderful plants out of the wild
and sharing them with the Botanical Garden`s of the World, all at his own
expense, and his unfortunate death BEFORE he could see the seeds grow and
He will appreciate it.
Again, congrats to all at Selby!!

From: "Scott Hyndman" <hyndman at magicnet.net> on 1999.05.12 at 03:11:40(3348)

I was very happy to see your note on Aroid-L about your twin Titan Arums;
CONGRATULATIONS! I may not be able to be there for the first inflorescence
opening due to a trip to London at month's end for the Chelsea Flower Show,
as well as a Kew visit, but hopefully the inflorescence phenology of your
second tuber will wait for me. I saw the nearly open Fairchild
Amorphophallus titanum inflorescence last year, and it was incredible!

You asked me some months ago about Am. titanum controlled pollination, so
here are the essentials on the pollination of your twins. This information
is from my personal experience on pollinating other Amorphophallus species,
as well as the information from Jake Henney's learned experience in
ornamental aroid controlled pollination. The technique discussed in the
following is not precise, as there is probably more art than science
involved. And others may have other methods that have worked too; anyone
else please do give their input too. Wilbert gives an interesting account
of general Amorphophallus pollination in situ at

Amorphophallus pollen is not physiologically amendable to long term storage,
unfortunately. It may last a month or so under the proper storage
conditions, but that may even be pushing the potential of the viability.
However, the window of opportunity for pollen viability with human
intervention is far greater than the female flower receptivity as I am sure
you are aware of; the stigmas will be at peak receptivity for just a few

From: "Alan Galloway" <alan at unity.ncsu.edu> on 1999.05.13 at 03:06:09(3349)
On May 11, 10:13pm, Scott Hyndman wrote:
> Subject: Re: Amorphophallus titanum flowering at Selby Gardens

Congratulations to the Selby staff on the upcoming Titan event.....Are
you folks going to be taking photos that can be used to print postcards?


From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 1999.05.15 at 01:50:25(3357)
Thanks Alan, for this suggestion. I am sure we will be getting some good
photos, and it will be fairly simple to get some postcards made after the
flowering. I'll let you all know if that happens.

I've had other suggestions, such as one to print up airline courtesy bags
with a statement something like "I survived the Amorphophallus flowering at
Selby Gardens!"...a souvenir for those who are only coming only to be
grossed-out by the smell.

Our "Big Boy" was over 49" (124.5 cm) this morning, Friday May 14, and grew
about 4-5 since yesterday, mostly at night. The more petite bud is 28 inches
(71 cm), and beginning to grow more rapidily now that it is free of the
cataphyll.. The cataphylls have not fallen yet on the larger bud. I noticed
on Fairchild's web site that their cataphylls fell about June 18th, and the
flower opened June 24-25 or so, about 5-6 days later. It looks like Atlanta's
bracts fell around July 2 and the flower was open only 2 or 3 days later. We
are looking at the timing of our flower development and can't quite figure
our opening date, with this amount of variability between those two events. I
guess we can say, once the bracts fall, that we have anywhere from 2-6 more
days to go!

Our web site should have more pictures up today (www.selby.org). We are
putting up a series of photos made starting about 6 days after these plants
broke through the soil. These will be linked to a set of tables with daily
measurements for each plant.

If anyone sees a press report of this event in their local media, I would
certainly appreciate knowing about it.


Donna Atwood
Selby Gardens

From: Wilbert Hetterscheid <hetter at vkc.nl> on 1999.05.17 at 18:10:38(3364)
Ah, so it IS going to flower! Well, that makes my previous message
superfluous. That's what you get when you leave town........


From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 1999.05.21 at 15:44:26(3381)
Selby Amorphophallus titanum update:

On Thursday, May 20, at about 3 PM, the first of our Amorphophallus titanum
flowering buds began to open. The bud sat unchanged all day and no one had
noticed any discernible changes until about 4PM, when one of the staff passed
through the viewing area on her way home. She noticed that the spathe had
begun to spread away from the spadix and was rapidly expanding. All of us
scrambled for cameras, press were notified and a photographer, who had been
selected for the assignment was called in. It was an exciting evening as
several of the staff witnessed the unfurling! And the nauseating stench
emitted was everything we might have imagined! The stench began almost
imperceptibly, then as the evening wore on, the waves of foul odor began
pulsing at what seemed like regular intervals...at times the wall of putrid
stench would seem as through it was slamming into each of us with a tangible
force. It seemed to have a great deal of power. The security guard arriving
for the 10 PM shift announced he had smelled the odor from the parking lot,
even before he got out of his truck. At one point as I was facing the almost
fully expanded inflorescence, a magnificent burst of fetid breath seemed to
hit my eyes...it felt as though something had actually touched the surface of
my eye, and my eyes immediately smarted strongly bringing tears! The effect
was so totally incredible, it must be experienced to believe. I do hope all
of you with A. titanum waiting to flower will have the opportunity to sit in
front of this stupendous plant and witness the whole event!

We have another flower that should open within 2-3 days and today we will
collect pollen from the open inflorescence and save it to pollinate the
second. I will post another messsage as time permits.

Donna Atwood
Selby Gardens

From: Lester Kallus <lkallus at earthlink.net> on 1999.05.21 at 21:27:50(3382)
Donna, I find this description of the stench interesting. The folks in Miami &
Atlanta both described their bloom's odor to be disappointingly mild. Do you
have any idea what accounts for the overwhelming nature of the odor in the Selby

From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 1999.05.28 at 20:49:10(3405)

The first inflorescence's smell was really undescribably potent during the
opening, but the second one was downright dainty by comparison....Both
started opening late in the afternoon, beginning at almost the same time. The
first started opening on Thursday, May 20 at about 3 PM, and continued
expanding til about midnight. The second started opening about 3:30-4 PM on
Monday, May 24 and was fully expanded by about 11 PM. We pollinated this
second inflor. late on the night of the 24th, when the females were most

From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 1999.05.31 at 15:38:50(3406)
Dear Donna,
Thanks for keeping 'us' up to date on your twin 'babies', and enjoy the
well-deserved rest!
I`d like to suggest that you keep your eyes on the second and smaller (also
perhaps significantly, much less 'stinky') inflorsence. It may just yet
give another clue to something I`ve been seeing in some Aroids
(Anaphyllopsis americana, for example), and which has been 'proven' in the
genus Arisaema, which is the ability for a smaller ('weaker'?) plant to
contribute to the gene pool by it`s pollen yet not it`s seed, as it is/may
be unable to provide enough resources to support the development of seed
during the long time it takes for an infructesence to develop. Even if the
pollenation on the second and smaller inflor. does not 'take', maybe a
portion of the female zone should be preserved in spirit so that the
structure of the female flowers would be available at a later date for
dissection and analysis? This may all be a moot point, as hopefully you
will see signs of an infructesence developing soon!
Please keep us informed, and again congrats!

From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 1999.06.03 at 16:19:16(3413)
Dear Julius,

Yes, we are concerned that the smaller inflor. won't be up to the task of
fruiting. Too bad the big, vigorous one did not open second instead. The
second inflor. was not even very fragrant. It did have an interesting
coloration, don't know if you saw the web photos....but it did not turn red
all the way to the edge of the spathe....had a green "picotee" around the
spathe edge. Also the color was more "orangy" than maroon. We'll see..

Can anyone tell me exactly what signs we should be seeing if we have
successful pollination?

From: Lester Kallus <lkallus at earthlink.net> on 1999.06.03 at 16:24:00(3414)

Any idea whether the pollination was successful? How long will it take for
us to find out?

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