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The Amorphophallus titanum in 3-D

The Amorphophalus Titanum in bloom
Visitors to the Huntington Gardens Viewing the The Amorphophallus Titanum (3-D photo below).
Bloom at 6:30 pm PST on August 8, 2002 - withering

The Amorphophallus titanum, commonly known as the Corpse Flower, is a native of Sumatra and is rare in the western world. Its spadix (the phallus) can grow over 8 feet in height. The bloom (depicted in the photo above and the 3-D photo below) is extremely rare in the Western World. Relatives of the plant include Antheriums, Philodendrons and Calla Lilies.

Aside from its size, the Amorphophallus titanum is known for its smell - which can be described as the odor of decaying carrion. The smell is an attractant for carrion beetles, sweat bees, and flesh flies which aid in pollination of the plant. The plant and the smell is also an attractant for large numbers of curious humans - who (myself included) have flocked to this current blooming and to the first blooming of the plant at the Huntingrton in 1999. Why? Because the the plant is rare; because it has a notorious foul odor which needs to be experienced to be "appreciated"; and because the plant is enormous and strange.

Evolutionarily, the Amorphophallus titanum interests me because the exuded carrion odor - which was a random mutation - has insured the survival of the plant. A creationist would ask "how did the plant know?". Nature is beautiful in that the question is eminently irrelevant.

Below is a 3-D view of the bloom as it appeared on August 8, 2002 at the Huntington Gardens. In order to view it in 3-D (stereoscopically) you will need a pair of red and blue anaglyph glasses. These can be obtained from Armchair World . Enjoy!

The Amorphophalus Titanum in 3-D
requires red-blue 3-D glasses

text and photographs © 2002 Gary Fisher

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