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  Miami Titanum
From: Don Burns <burns at mobot.org> on 1998.06.19 at 12:46:55(2343)
Amorphophiles,

We just returned from Miami, having eyeballed, cozied up to, and
photographed Amorphophallus titanum. This is the first time I have seen
this monster and it is astounding! The energy expended by the "tuber" (I
already read Wilbert's "short" note) to cause the inflorescence to grow
vertically at an average of four inches per day must be very high. I have
seen other smaller plants shoot up peduncles faster, but none had to
create so much mass in doing so, except possibly some yuccas.

During the past 24 hours the tuber appears to have shifted into second
gear. Spadix growth has slowed measurably to one or so inch. The ruffling
at the fringes of the spathe is now becoming very apparent along with the
deep red-purple coloring that will follow on the inside of the spathe. It
is clear that the inflorescence is being prepared for opening as the
central portion of the spathe, still tightly wrapped around the spadix,
is becoming deeply wrinkled vertically. Apparently the spathe is now
growing around its circumference, and this must be the beginning of the
opening process.

I have no idea how long the opening process will take, but my suspicion
is that we may not see it open until early next week. In fact someone
mentioned that the plant may be "aware" that the local IAS meeting
is scheduled for Monday night, and thus will delay its opening until then ;-)

There are two cameras focused on the inflorescence and time lapsing at 10
minute increments. One camera view is from the side, and the second is
above the inflorescence, which should make for very interesting viewing.

If any of you have been looking for an excuse to fly to south Florida for
a brief stay, you now have it...

Don

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