The race is on! Two giant Titan Arums are in a battle to be the first to bloom this year in the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse. These giant plants, native to the rainforests of western Sumatra, are growing inch by inch every day, racing to reach maturity and open their enormous maroon blooms.
Titan Arums (Amorphophallus titanum) are the largest unbranched flowers in the world. These giant flowers have measured as tall as 3.1 m (just over 10 feet), as recorded in 2010 for the Guinness World Record holder Louis Ricciardiello.
Which Titan Arum will be the first to bloom this year? Anticipation grows each day as Floral Showhouse visitors gaze at the two massive pots and the emerging flower buds within, pushing skyward. The two Titan Arums had been dormant for months, but this past spring fat buds appeared, poking out of the soil and immediately causing a stir. Every day as the flower buds get taller and taller, the excitement grows. It is anticipated that the first flower will open and share its pungent aroma sometime around mid-June, but when the bloom opens is totally up to the plant! After that, the bloom for the second plant won’t be far behind.
Titan Arums may be impressive because they are the world’s tallest flowers, but they also have one of the foulest odours in the plant world. In their native dense jungles, the plants pollinate by using their scent to attract carrion-eating beetles and flesh flies. The potency of the aroma gradually increases from late evening, when the flower fully opens, until the middle of night and then tapers off as morning arrives. Titan Arum flowers usually are open for just a day or two.
A Titan Arum grows from the water and nutrients stored in its large, underground corm (which is like a huge, round potato). As the plant grows, the corm gets larger, and after about 10 years, the corm can reach blooming size. Several other Titan Arums are currently in leaf at the Floral Showhouse. Don’t miss the opportunity to see Clive, who bloomed last year, unfurl a massive leaf over the next few weeks that could reach 20 ft (6 m).
Come check out the Titan Arums on display at the Floral Showhouse, open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You’ll also enjoy the beauty of the Hydrangea Show on during the entire month of May.