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Titan Arum: June 2005 Blooming
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Titan arum blossom may be on record pace

Update (6/28): A second titan arum is blooming. See the news release for more information.

UW-Madison's corpse flower finally began its anticipated bloom today at about 12:30 p.m., and the public will have many chances to catch a glimpse - and a whiff - of the experience with extended Botany Greenhouse hours until midnight tonight.

The plant had grown only one-half inch (to a height of 98 inches) over the past 24 hours, a very strong indicator that the bloom was imminent. It has also been emitting a slight odor now and then, giving a hint of what was to come.

It takes about three hours for the spathe to fully unfurl. It generally remains open for 24 to 48 hours. The unique and pungent odor that comes with the bloom is the strongest in the first several hours. When this same plant bloomed on June 7, 2001, it started to open just before1 p.m. and was fully open by 4 p.m.

The Botany Greenhouse, located in Birge Hall, 430 Lincoln Drive, will extend its hours until midenight today and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday. Entry to the greenhouse is through the greenhouse garage, which is located behind Birge Hall just off Lathrop Drive. Signs are posted to direct visitors. The greenhouse will not be open this weekend.

(Details about in-person viewing, access, parking and bus transportation)

Latest updates

June 9
Titan's bloom could come any time now. The plant grew only one half inch since yesterday, a strong sign that it is getting ready to open. Today's height is 98 inches, or 8'2". It is emitting a slight odor every now and then -- barely detectable last night and this morning. That, too, is an indication that the bloom is near. The peduncle has not grown beyond yesterday's measurement of 14 inches. It takes a few hours for the spathe to fully open. It typically will stay open for one to two days. On June 7, 2001, Big Bucky's spathe began opening just before 1 p.m. and was completely open by 4 p.m. On the day it blooms again -- probably today or tomorrow -- the greenhouse will stay open until midnight. If the corpse flower opens tomorrow, the Saturday hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

June 8
This morning's measurement was 97 and 1/2 inches. The peduncle (flower stem) is now 14 inches tall. Greenhouse staff also measured the spathe today. It is three feet from its base to the edge of its ruffled top. Another hot and humid day is forecast, providing very similar conditions to those in the plant's native environment of Sumatra. Those conditions are beneficial for the plant's growth. And as long as it keeps growing, it is not likely to bloom. Because it grew another two and half inches since yesterday, greenhouse staff don't expect it to open today. Last week, they had predicted it would bloom by tomorrow, but perhaps Mother Nature has a different schedule in mind.

June 7
Big Bucky's peduncle (flower stem) continues to grow, and the spathe is developing more of the deep maroon color, which can now be seen between its ribs as well as on its margin. Today's measurement of 95 inches was taken from the point where the peduncle meets the huge tuber from which the plant emerges. Greenhouse director Mo Fayyaz says that is the most accurate way to determine the true height of the plant. In previous days, Fayyaz and his staff had measured from the top of the planting medium.

June 6
Titan stands at 90 inches today. More of the deepening maroon color is being seen in the margin of the spathe. The ruffled edge at the top appears to be slightly pulling away from the spadix, a sign that it is getting ready to unwrap and expose the corpse flower. The peduncle, or flower stem, is growing and is now 11 inches tall. The role of the peduncle is to keep maturing fruits out of reach of small animals such as rodents. So when will the flower open? "Wednesday should be the critical day," says greenhouse director Mo Fayyaz, "but I just can't predict that for sure." It is very likely that the bloom will occur sometime this week. If you can't make a trip to the greenhouse to see the Titan in person, keep watch via the live streaming media being provided by the university's Division of Information Technology.

June 5
The plant has grown another four inches since Saturday morning's measurement, a height of 7'4". The heat and humidity in the greenhouse yesterday provided good growing conditions for it. "It is beautiful!" said Mohammad Fayyaz, noting that where the still-closed spathe overlaps, the deep maroon color inside is becoming "nicely visible." With more sunshine and humidity today, it will hopefully grow another four inches by tomorrow. The fifth and final bract protecting the bud has now fallen. In 2001, the plant bloomed four days after its bracts, also known as scales, had dropped.

June 4
Greenhouse director Mohammad Fayyaz says that overcast skies and cooler temperatures in the greenhouse on Friday may be the reason that Titan's growth slowed a bit since the Friday morning measurement of 82 inches. It was 84 inches tall this morning (Saturday). He hopes that sunshine will return to heat up the greenhouse and encourage greater daily growth. As of this morning, the largest and last bract had fallen only partially. The top of the spathe is showing more maroon at the margin, and the upper part of the spadix is turning dark purple. The top one foot of it is a beautiful greenish cream color. The corpse flower is expected to open this coming week. Stay tuned!

June 3
Four of the five bracts (or scales) that enclose and protect the plant's spathe and spadix now have fallen. The largest bract was still in place this morning. When the last one has fallen, it will be a signal to the bud that it is time to move toward its bloom. The maroon color is developing on the inside of the spathe. There is just a hint of it visible today. Much of Titan IV's spadix is purple in color, just as it was in 2001. The bloom is expected within the next 4-8 days.

Latest measurements

June 9 98"
June 8 97 1/2"
June 7 95"
June 6 90"
June 5 88"
June 4 84"
June 3 82"
June 2 78"
June 1 74"
May 31 68"
May 30 61 3/4"
May 29 56"
May 28 51"
May 27 46"
May 26 42"
May 18 23"
May 4 9"
April 28 6"
April 22 4 1/4"
April 1 bud emerging

Where is it located?
In Botany Greenhouse #8 on the lower level of Birge Hall, which is just below and to the left of Bascom Hall as you are walking up Bascom Hill. If you are coming from Charter Street, it will be to the right of Bascom Hall. If you are coming from University Avenue, look for it just above the newly renovated Botany Garden.

Viewing hours
Starting on Monday, June 6, the greenhouse hours will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. On the day the plant blooms, the greenhouse will stay open until midnight.

Parking
Two-hour metered parking is available in parking area 6 under the Helen C. White College Library, located at the end of North Park Street across from the Memorial Union. Area 7 at Grainger Hall may also have metered parking available. The entrance to that ramp is on North Brooks Street. The city's Lake Street ramp is another option, and metered stalls on campus-area streets can be found from time to time.

After 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday, a number of university lots are free and open to the general public. Complete information on available lots can be found online. Look for Type X lots. Free parking does not include restricted areas such as driveways and aisles, reserved stalls, disabled stalls, loading zones, construction areas or lots being used for Special Events.

Bus service
The campus bus (Route 80) is free and runs approximately every 15 minutes on weekdays and less frequently on weekends. Complete campus route information is available at Madison Metro's Web site..

Photography
Visitors are welcome to take photos of the Titan arum or to videotape it for their own personal use.

(Updated on 6/5/05)



Photo of the Titan arum

Visitors gather to view the 98-inch-tall Titan Arum nicknamed "Big Bucky," which bloomed June 9, 2005.
Photo by: Michael Forster Rothbart



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. At the base of the spadix (the fleshy central column) are over a thousand tiny flowers. If pollinated, these flowers will produce a huge ball of bright red berries, right.



Photo of the Titan arum

Visitors gather to view the 98-inch-tall Titan Arum nicknamed "Big Bucky," which bloomed June 9, 2005.
Photo by: Michael Forster Rothbart



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. At the base of the spadix (the fleshy central column) are over a thousand tiny flowers. If pollinated, these flowers will produce a huge ball of bright red berries, right.

 

 

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