The Corpse Flower

The Corpse Flower is another name for the Titan Arum, a weird looking plant that can grow to 10 ft high or more. It is called the corpse flower because of its horrible smell, which has been described by some to smell like roadkill or rotting fish, among other things. Its scientific name is Amorphophallus Titanium, meaning ‘misshapen giant penis’, named so at a time when people named plants after body parts.

corpse flower

The leaves on the corpse flower can grow up to 20 ft high and 16 ft across, which makes it one of the biggest flowering plants on earth. It usually weighs 110 pounds, but the record weight is 305 pounds, grown by a doctor in New Hampshire in 2010. You would think that since it’s so big, it might be carnivorous, but all it needs to survive is water, air, and the soil it’s grown in.

flower exhibit

The Titan Arum originates from and grows only in Sumatra, an island in Indonesia, in a rain forest. It takes the plant 7-10 years to bloom for the first time, and after that it varies from 2-3 years. However, some plants will still take another 10 years for the next bloom. The male and female parts are all together, so the female flower blooms first, hours ahead of the male, to prevent self pollination. Other pollinators of this plant are carnivorous insects, attracted to it by the rotten smell and deep burgundy color that looks like a dead animal.


If the corpse flower only grew in the wild, it would become endangered due to habitat destruction. Many conservatories, gardens, zoos, and private owners around the world have ensured that it will survive into the future for generations to come. It’s such a unique looking, AND smelling plant that everyone should experience seeing one.