‘Corpse Flower’ finally opens at Paignton Zoo

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The ‘Corpse Flower’ has finally opened after weeks of waiting at the Paignton Zoo.

Titan Arums (Amorphophallus titanum) also known as the ‘Corpse Flower’ plant have flowers that can be up to 3 metres high and 3 metres in circumference.

The plant is known to grow a new bud from its underground tuber and every time that happens, it either forms a new leaf or a flower. This is the first time that a flower has blossomed in Scotland as back in 2011 a similar growth spurt was seen, but it turned to be a leaf.

Giles Palmer, Curator of Plants and Gardens at Paignton Zoo, said: “There are about 100 collections in the world where you can see this plant – they can go for years between flowerings, so it’s not a common sight.”

Paignton Zoo Titan Arum

The plant – from the rainforests of Sumatra and a member of the Arum family – is classed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. It has one of the largest flowers in the world; the bloom – correctly, an inflorescence – is green on the outside and bright red inside, with ribbed sides and a frilled edge.

Due to its odour – said to be like rotting meat – it’s known as a carrion flower, and has been dubbed corpse flower or corpse plant. It emits the strong smell at night to attract pollinators.

The plant corm was gifted to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2003 by Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, Netherlands. The zoo will keep the garden open from 9 in the morning till 9 in the evening while the flower is still blooming.