Blooming of the Titan Arum 2001: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Botany, June 2001

On June 7, 2001, one of the world's largest and most malodorous flowers, the titan arum, bloomed inside the UW-Madison Botany Greenhouse. The bloom was the first in Wisconsin and one of less than 15 recorded blooms in the United States.

Latest updates

March 15, 2002
Nine months after the flower bloomed, campus botanists are harvesting fruit from the titan arum.
Photos: Harvesting fruit

November 2, 2001
Five months after blooming in the Botany greenhouse, the Titan Arum was bearing a column of red, cherry-sized fruits. The stinky 101-inch tall flowering plant bloomed June 7, 2001 and was pollinated by hand.
Photos: Mature fruit

July 24, 2001
On July 20, 2001, the spadix was removed, leaving the peduncle. The female zone of the pedunclew has over 1000 fruits developing. Each fruit, light orange in color, is three-quarter-inches long and a half-inch wide. Longitudinal and cross sections taken from two fruits that were pollinated by insects revealed that two immature seeds are developing in each fruit.
Photos: Seed examination

July 18, 2001
The UW-Madison titan arum is well on its way to producing fruit, thanks to pollen from Selby Botanical Gardens, chief pollinator Paul Berry and many helper house flies. According to Botany Greenhouses and Garden Director Mo Fayyaz, the corpse flower has produced more than 1,000 developing fruits. In mid-July, the spathe peeled off and was removed, exposing the peduncle or stalk of the inflorescence. On July 18, the peduncle stood 23-inches tall and was still growing. The fruiting spadex will continue to be monitored until late fall when the fruit is expected to be fully mature.
Photos: Fruit development progresses

July 1, 2001
As of July 1, 2001, the UW-Madison titan arum looks well on its way to copious fruit development. Early last week, the enclosing spathe began to peel away and expose the lower part of the spadix for the first time. The remains of the sterile tip of the spadix, which collapsed several days after flowering, remains attached, but will soon detach.
Photos: Fruit development | Spathe peels away exposing lower spadix

June 11, 2001
At 1:30 p.m. on Monday, June 11, the top half of the titan arum's spire-like spadix fell over, exhausted by its titanic reproductive effort. It will now take several days for the leaf-like spathe around the flowers to peel away, at which time we will be able to tell if the flowers, which were hand-pollinated on June 7 and 8, are developing into fruit.
Photos: Female and male flowers inside the spathe | Inside the spathe

Growth chart and blossom photos

Time-lapse sequences of the bloom

Time-lapse sequences:
The following Quicktime VR files capture the opening of the flower on June 7. (Each file captures the same sequence.)
Good - 500K | Better - 1000K | Best - 3500K

Quicktime movie time-lapse (6300K)

About UW-Madison's Titan Arum

History of UW-Madison's titan arum

Tuber dimensions: 24-inch diameter, 75-inch circumference
Growth progress: (Growth chart)
June 12 - The spadix has collapsed.
June 11 - The spadix is continuing to collapse at the tip.
June 10 - The spadix is beginning to collapse at the tip, and the spathe is starting to wilt.
June 9 - 8 feet, 5 inches
June 8 - 8 feet, 5 inches (ties the record for tallest titan arum grown in cultivation on record in the U.S.)
June 7 - 8 feet, 4 inches
June 6 - 8 feet, 2.5 inches
June 5 - 8 feet, 1 inch (Growth has slowed to two inches since June 4.)
June 4 - 7 feet, 11 inches (Purple is starting to develop around the flower bud.)
June 3 - 7 feet, 8 inches (All bracts have fallen from the bud.)
June 2 - 7 feet, 4.5 inches (Growth is slowing. First of the bracts - protective sheaths that originally enclosed the bud - has fallen and a maroon color is developing on the inside of the spathe.)
June 1 - 7 feet, 1 inch
May 31 - 6 feet, 8.5 inches
May 30 - 6 feet, 3.5 inches
May 29 - 5 feet, 9 inches
May 28 - 5 feet, 3.5 inches
May 27 - 4 feet, 9.5 inches
May 26 - 4 feet, 5 inches
May 25 - 4 feet
May 24 - 3 feet, 7.5 inches
May 23 - 3 feet, 3.5 inches
May 22 - 3 feet, .5 inches
May 21 - 2 feet, 9.5 inches (determined it was a flower bud, not a leaf)
April 27 - bud emerging

Coverage from The Why Files
Superb Stinkbomb (June 14, 2001)

UW-Madison new stories
Corpse flower ends bloom (June 11, 2001)

Rare flower begins bloom (June 7, 2001)

Rare, pungent flower to get some cross-country love (May 29, 2001)

Stinking beauty: Rare flower set to bloom (May 29, 2001)

About the Titan Arum

Latin name: Amorphophallus titanum
Other names: Titan Arum, Corpse flower, Bunga Bangkai
Native habitat: equatorial rainforests of central Sumatra in Indonesia
Known bloomings in the U.S.: less than 15

More facts about the Titan Arum

Previous bloomings in the U.S.

Links to other Titan Arum sites

For News Media

High-resolution photos for print use

News media contact: Terry Devitt, 608-262-8282,

Photo of titan arum in full bloom n June 7, 2001

Photo: Michael Rothbart

On June 7, 2001, UW-Madison's 8-feet, 5-inch tall titan opened up gradually over the course of six hours.

Illustration of Titan Arum in bud, bloom and fruit stages

Illustration: Kandis Elliot

This illustration shows Titan Arum in bud, left, and full bloom, center. Inside the base of the spadix (the fleshy central column of the flower) are over a thousand tiny flowers, right.