Walt Disney World

Animal Kingdom Park

Amorphophallus titanum

by James R. Thompson

Titan Update July 12, 2004

Height: 53 inches (135 cm)

July 12, 2004 53• tall
The Titan had a great weekend growing 11 inches (28 cm) since Friday! Some of the sheaths are beginning to dry up and will fall off in the next day or two. The growth is continuing on a steady pace and hasn't shown signs of slowing yet. Soon, the daily growth rate will begin to taper off and, once it stops, we will know it is only a day or two until flowering. On Friday I spoke with Craig Allen, the former conservatory manager of Fairchild Gardens and person responsible for the donation of these plants to Disney. Craig is a respected authority on growing Titans in Florida. He has confirmed that on average, the flower will open up roughly 15 days from when the spadix pokes through the bracts. Quick botany lesson--the spadix is the tall spire-like structure that grows the tallest. Not to be confused with the spathe, which is currently the frilly portion wrapped tightly around the spadix. On "opening day" the spathe will unfurl, revealing its maroon interior. Anyway, the spadix emerged last weekend. Although we are not certain the exact day, as it was a holiday weekend, our best estimate is that is pushed through on Saturday or Sunday the 4th. This would give us an anticipated opening date of July 18th or 19th. Keep in mind this is just an estimate, but the monitoring of the growth rate will give as a better measure as we get closer.

I just found out this morning that the Stephan F. Austin State University Mast Arboretum in Texas is about to be home to the first Titan Arum bloom in Texas. They have named their plant "Jack." Jack is about a week ahead of ours, so I left a message with their director this morning hoping to attain some of Jack's pollen. They are receiving pollen from the plant at the University of Connecticut, which just finished blooming. (http://www.news.uconn.edu/2004/jun2004/rel04065.htm)

DID YOU KNOW: When the flower opens, the tip of the spadix heats up. This helps give the heavy, sulfur-based odors the kinetic energy needed to go air-born and travel long distances to attract pollinators. The spadix will heat up to the temperature of a human being. Check out the thermal images from the University of Wisconsin (http://www.news.wisc.edu/titanarum/facts.html).

International Aroid Society logoThis page was created by Scott Hyndman for the I.A.S. on July 13, 2004.