by James R. Thompson

Titan Update August 26, 2005
Height: 38 inches (97 cm)

38 inches (97 cm) tall, 29.5 inches (75 cm) circumference.
The bud has grown another 2 inches (5 cm) higher and one half an inch (1.7 cm) in circumference since yesterday. The spadix is more visible today. The sheaths have fallen from around the bud which is concerning. The protective sheaths typically don’t relax this much until much closer to the opening. This is an unusual flower and this wouldn’t be the only unusual thing it has done. The girth of this bud is larger than usual. Usually the tip of the spadix pushes through the top of bracts, this flower pushed out through the sides. This may explain the early collapse of the bracts. The spathe is also beginning to show some of the maroon color on the edge where the spathe overlaps.

The timing of this titan continues to be unpredictable. By this stage we would expect the bud to be growing at a rate of three to four inches (8 to 10 cm) a day, instead it is adding two inches (5 cm) a day.

This may be due to not enough water. We were very concerned about over watering because titan arums are very susceptible to rot. The new pot is also very large and the soil retains moisture well so over watering is a potential problem in this regard. We may have over compensated for these factors, so we are going to increase the frequency of our watering from once a week to three times a week.

Typically, the growth rate of the titan arum’s inflorescence follows an exponential curve. The growth rate starts off slow and gradually increases. At its peak rate, the inflorescence can grow by as much as six inches (15 cm) a day. This continues for a few days then the growth rate gradually slows eventually coming to a stop. At this point, the flower should open in the next 24 hours. As we have yet to observe an increase in the daily growth rate we can make one of two assumptions. Either the inflorescence is still in an early stage of development or the lack of ample water has stunted its growth. Let’s hope for the former.

The coloration of the spathe also seems to be a bit early in the development. I hope this isn’t a sign that the inflorescence will open soon. From what I’ve seen of previous titan blooms, each and every titan is unique so our unusual observations may just be specific to this one inflorescence.

DID YOU KNOW: There are at least 170 species of Amorphophallus. Amorphophallus titanum is the largest. Amorphophallus gigas and A. hewitii are also colossal species and both are present in the Walt Disney World Amorphophallus collection.

International Aroid Society logo This page was created by Scott Hyndman for the I.A.S. on August 31, 2005.