Marwell received a smelly Christmas gift this year!

December 10, 2018

The gardening team at Paignton Zoo has kindly donated a Titan arum plant (also known as the ‘corpse flower’).

This impressive plant is able to grow up to 3 metres tall, making it the largest flowering structure on the planet!

In 2012, Paignton Zoo was the first zoological collection in the UK to have a Titan arum bloom. Paignton Zoo Head Gardener, Catherine Mortimer said: “Now is the time to move the plant, as it’s dormant – you simply can’t do it while it’s growing.” Catherine continued to say “This Titan is a good size now – we think it might even flower in 2019!” It took three members of Paignton Zoo’s gardening team to safely accompany the 19kg plant to Marwell.

The Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. When in bloom the plant smells of rotting flesh and is able to produce its own heat, up to 32C, to help spread the stench – attracting beetles and flies which help with pollination. These plants only produce a flower ever 5-7 years, which makes it an exciting and rare spectacle when they do flower. During the years that the Titan arum does not flower it usually produces a single, ‘tree like’ leaf between 4 and 7 metres tall. You’ll be able to spot the Titan arum once it’s moved into our wonderful Tropical House, we have our fingers crossed for a flower in the coming years!

Paignton Zoo Communications Manager, Phil Knowling shares his excitement for this wonderful Christmas gift: “Paignton Zoo has achieved great things with Titan arums in recent years through the hard work and dedication to detail of our gardens team. It’s great to be able to share our success with other collections. We wish our colleagues at Marwell a merry Christmas and a very stinky 2019!”

Thanks again Paignton, we can’t wait to see (and smell) the Titan arum in full bloom!