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  TitanWatch 5/6/03 She was trying to show off her, dare I say.
From: "Craig Allen" callen at fairchildgarden.org> on 2003.05.07 at 01:00:35(10192)
TitanWatch 5/6/03 She was trying to show off her, dare I say...

There were a number of TV stations here today, but I couldn't keep up with the list. They are gone now, but I'll see many of them again when Mr. Stinky does his thang, as we say in Texas. One of the most enjoyable moments today was when the entire cast and crew with the new production of 'Little Shop of Horrors' came for a visit. The production opens tomorrow in the Actors' Playhouse at Coral Gables famous Miracle Theater. I was lucky enough to talk to designer and master puppeteer, Martin P. Robinson. I asked him why my Audrey III doesn't talk like his Audrey II. He wasn't sure, but suggested that I'm lucky my Audrey has not yet developed the rich taste for eating people that his creation is famous for. Should I be worried?

A Prima Donna... That is what I think Audrey III has become. When I got to Fairchild Garden this morning the Guard told me that she doesn't smell so terrible any more. I expected that, but if you have watched her on the web cam today you already know what I'm about to say. She has already closed up. It is the shortest-lived Titan I have bloomed. She stayed open less than 24 hours. Even though she has been closing slowly all day, I have to admit she is still very beautiful. As her elegant ruffled spathe closed around her she began to take on the look of a woman in a fancy party dress. It looked for all the world like she was trying to show off her, dare I say, cleavage. She is a prima donna all right. She's been on TV and it went to her head. Maybe she is holding out for higher pay or more likely a pot of richer compost. Hopefully a person for dinner or should I say a human as dinner isn't what is on her mind!

Now I am playing the Why Game. Why did she close so soon? Why did she wait so long to release her odor? I spent all day wondering why. Could the lighting we left on over night have affected the normal bloom pattern? With the flies she attracted, could she have been inadvertently pollinated? If she was, what else was in bloom? Most of the other species she was surrounded with were past their prime, but they might easily have still carried pollen. Was my baby deflowered? The Amorphophallus gigas were very short lived as well.

Audrey III, or Prissy as the Garden director calls her, still has not released her pollen. Actually I would not have expected that stage until in the morning anyway. I had my arm down her spathe and the male flowers were still closed tight. That was an odd sight to the visitors here at the time. I hope they don't think I was being rude.

TitanWatch update:

Audrey III = 73" blooming

Mr. Stinky = 69" and still growing real fast

Craig M. Allen

From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at msn.com> on 2003.05.08 at 00:40:11(10209)
----- Original Message -----
To: "Aroid-L (E-mail)"
Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 9:00 PM
Subject: [aroid-l] TitanWatch 5/6/03 She was trying to show off her, dare I

TitanWatch 5/6/03 She was trying to show off her, dare I say...

Dear Craig,

First off let me offer my heartiest congratulations on this most magnificent
accomplishment, your managing to bloom these two giants of the
Amorphophallus world, and allow me to thank you on behalf of all of us 'out
there' for so lovingly sharing your joy and experiences in observing your
babies as they gave to the public of themselves, the 'showing off' of their
absolutely fantastic blooms, as nothing in the plant kingdom compares to
these true marvels.
I will offer some of my as yet unproven thoughts on the 'why' of Audrey`s
seemingly odd 'behavior'.
You may recall that some time ago we debated how some smaller Aroid tubers
and plants, seemingly not as yet fully mature or large enough to support a
developing infructesence, were seemingly still 'driven' to bloom and to make
their contribution to the gene pool. Audrey seems the perfect fit for this
scenario! She is still a relatively small tuber/plant, and upon opening
she did not produce the 'blast' of odor which would attract insects bearing
pollen from another bloom to her female flowers at their peak of
receptivity. She seemingly 'choose' to skip this most important 'event'.
She then produces her odor, presumably AFTER the female anthesis/receptivity
is past, so this 'secondary' odor-event would then attract the insects, and
she closes to 'trap' them. She produces her pollen (PLEASE let us know if
and when this happy event takes place!!!), and eventually the insects will
be allowed to escape, but bearing HER new pollen to be taken to OTHER blooms
on larger plants, her 'mission' would have been accomplished, as a 'daddy'
she has made HER contribution of pollen to the gene pool, but because of
the small size of her tuber/reserves, she could not support a developing
infructesence over the LONG months it takes to produce seed, and so would
not 'allow' herself to be pollinated. This has been recorded in the genus
Arisaema, and I have observed this in the genera Anaphyllopsis and
Urospatha, but I do not believe there have been any other publications on
this aspect of aroid reproduction. I hope that this may help, and comments
will be appreciated!
My friend the late Dr. Jim Symon would have been so very happy to see the
results of his seed collections doing so well at Fairchild under your gifted
hands, I can only wish that he had survived to see the fruits of his labor
doing so very well and bringing such enjoyment to the masses.
Where ever you may be Jim, thanks and well done!

Julius Boos

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