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  TitanWatch 5/10/03 The mysteries of the Titan
From: "Craig Allen" callen at fairchildgarden.org> on 2003.05.10 at 14:34:45(10234)
TitanWatch 5/10/03 The mysteries of the Titan

OK, I'm beginning to panic again. After being so wrong about 'Audrey III', I don't trust my original timing estimates. We had already moved up our estimate to May 12-13. Perhaps I should say May 11-15. Or maybe I should change it to 15 minutes from now until May 18. Then I couldn't possible be wrong... could I? 'Mr. Stinky' has begun to slow down his upward growth though he is still growing some, and getting fatter by the minute. The ruffles at the top of the spathe are definitely loosening up now. The deep burgundy color developing on the inside is very advanced. 'Mr. Stinky' has always been very thick in the middle, but I might be seeing the beginning of tension building up in the folded ribs of the spathe. Could this be the beginning of the final countdown? Who knows?

Will I ever be able to peg the opening of an Amorphophallus titanum bloom accurately? If the blooms lasted longer I wouldn't worry so. Since we are going to attempt pollination on 'Mr. Stinky' his bloom will be no longer lasting than 'Audrey III', perhaps less. 14 hours was about all the time 'Audrey III' was in perfect condition. After the pollen is applied with my trusty "blush brush", the spathe will begin to wrap tightly around the spadix. In a natural setting that action would trap the visiting pollinators until the next day when the inflorescence would release it's own pollen. Covered with pollen, the carrion beetles or other pollinators would be allowed to escape. With luck, for a Titan, they would head off to another Titan Lily thinking " There is nothing to eat in this beetle trap, but I smell massive roadkill just over the hill. Yum Yum!"

For your own realistic experience you might want to stuff a piece of raw fish in a zip lock and store it in the heat to ripen. Opening the bag as you watch 'Mr. Stinky' opening on the web would help you to experience the mysteries of the Titan. It would be your home made scratch and sniff accessory.

Stay tuned to the 'Temple for Titans' daily e-mail broadcast for the play by play action. Starring the world famous (or infamous) 'Mr. Stinky' We never sleep (seems like), we never miss a play (well... sometimes) and we definitely never, never, ever get sick from foul odors (hmmmm... that isn't strictly true either). But we do have fun!

I hope all of you are able to watch on the webcam if you are not able to get to Fairchild for the:

Grand Stinkathon

P.S. I have confirmed with Julia Kornegay, Director of Fairchild Tropical Garden that if 'Mr. Stinky' opens on a weekday afternoon as did Audrey III, the Garden will stay open past 4:30 P.M. our usual closing time. If you plan on being here, the Garden will be using the FTG South Employee Entrance (the former main entrance). It is much closer to the Conservatory, home of the 'Temple for Titans', than the new Visitor Center.

TitanWatch update:

Mr. Stinky = 83 inches

Audrey III = collapsing even flatter into her pot.

Craig M. Allen

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From: "Val Gillman" hortma at totheinter.net> on 2003.05.11 at 18:10:12(10239)
Craig, thanks for allowing us to experience this 2nd hand. It is most
fascinating.
V. Gillman-MI.

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