by James R. Thompson

Titan Update September 5, 2005
Height: 44 inches (112 cm)

September 3
September 4
September 5
September 6
Saturday was the big day. As I walked up to the location in the park where the titan was located, my nose began to detect that unmistakable aroma. So naturally I became very excited and as I came upon the titan it had just barely opened. This was great, I thought, I hadn’t missed it. Well, little did I know that was it. It was not to open any more than this. What this titan may have lacked in size it made up for with fragrance. This thing stunk all day long and even some into Sunday. I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting three titan flowerings prior to this and this one was by far the smelliest. The fragrance from last year’s titan flowering happened mostly at night and surprisingly many of our guests were disappointed that they couldn’t smell it. Not this year. Many people got a good dose of the titan’s perfume and they all learned that flowers don’t smell for us. It’s all about the pollinators.

When the titan arum blooms the spadix will heat up. This gets the fragrance molecules moving around and helps them to go airborne. We were fortunate that our veterinarians have a thermal imagine camera. Thank you, Dr. Greg Flemming for taking the incredible titan thermal images (below).

While this flowering didn’t quite reach our expectations, we’ve learned so much from this experience and can’t wait until the next blooming to apply what we’ve learned. Our titan education continues through the year and if any of you have any questions, comments, or advice please give me a shout at the address here.

As this will be the final update for this flowering, I want to mention some of the horticulture folks who have contributed to the success of our titan program. Melissa Shepherd has been our talented grower for the last three years and it is through her loving care that our titans, a well as many other plants, have flourished. See more on Melissa from last year’s updates here. The Animal Kingdom plant specialist team was also crucial for this event. Under the leadership of Wendy Andrew, Rick Rohrmann’s crew carried out the installation and maintenance as well as daily presentations. Rick’s crew includes: Jackie Carelock (foreman), Jean Claude Marquin, Rob Williams, Ira Wileman, Judy Fahey, Bridgette Bauer, and Steve Boles. Special thanks to Rob and Ira who have been the caretakers while the titan was on stage. Thanks go out to Chris Hassell for his development of our graphics and for posting the daily updates to the Disney intranet portal. Thank you to Scott Hyndman for posting the updates to the International Aroid Society’s web site again this year. There were many people who lent a helping hand to us to get the word out about this event. More than can be mentioned here, but thank you to all who’ve helped and we look forward to working with all of you on our next Amorphophallus titanum flowering.

Thermal image of the titan arum on September 2.

International Aroid Society logo This page was created by Scott Hyndman for the I.A.S. on September 7, 2005.