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[aroid-l] Titan at Disney

  • Subject: [aroid-l] Titan at Disney
  • From: Eric Schmidt <>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2004 07:35:50 -0700 (PDT)

Here are 2 seperate reports released by Disney
Horticulture about the A. titanum that is getting
ready to flower. There were pictures but I don't think
I can send them as an attachment t this list.

July 8, 2004      37? tall                        July
 9, 2004   42" tall                               

 This is our first installment of our daily Titan
update. For those receiving this who haven?t heard
yet, Walt Disney World Horticulture is proud to
present its first blooming of the Amorphophallus
titanum, the Titan Arum. This will be only the 26th
blooming of this species ever in the US.
 The Titan is now on stage at Bradley Falls in
Disney?s Animal Kingdom. Our first measurements were
taken yesterday when the bud was 37? tall. Today it?s
42? tall. That?s right, it grew 5 inches since
yesterday. Based on data of growth patterns of Titan
bloomings elsewhere, we estimate the opening of the
flower to occur somewhere between July 17th and 19th.
There are many factors that affect the timing so this
is purely an estimate. It could be a little before or
after this range. As the daily growth rate begins to
slow we will know we?re getting close. When the growth
rate stops, it should open the next day or so.
 This plant was repotted 2 months ago and the tuber
weighed 40 lbs. Previous Titans of similar size have
produce an inflorescence around 5 feet tall. The
largest tuber in the Walt Disney World collection
weighed 90 pounds when repotted this year. The 90
pounder has yet to reveal if it will flower this year
or not. It is producing an unusual bract around its
new growth that the plant that?s flowering produced
(see below) so we are hopeful. I think we?ll know by

July 12    53" tall
The Titan had a great weekend growing 11 inches since
Friday!! Some of the sheaths are beginning to dry up
and will fall off in the next day or two. The growth
is continuing on a steady pace and hasn?t shown signs
of slowing yet. Soon, the daily growth rate will begin
to taper off and, once it stops, we will know it is
only a day or two until flowering. On Friday I spoke
with Craig Allen, the former conservatory manager of
Fairchild Gardens and person responsible for the
donation of these plants to Disney. Craig is a
respected authority on growing Titans in Florida. He
has confirmed that on average, the flower will open up
roughly 15 days from when the spadix pokes through the
bracts. Quick botany lesson--the spadix is the tall
spire-like structure that grows the tallest. Not to be
confused with the spathe, which is currently the
frilly portion wrapped tightly around the spadix. On
?opening day? the spathe will unfurl, revealing its
maroon interior. Anyway, the spadix emerged last
weekend. Although we are not certain the exact day, as
it was a holiday weekend, our best estimate is that is
pushed through on Saturday or Sunday the 4th. This
would give us an anticipated opening date of July 18th
or 19th.  Keep in mind this is just an estimate, but
the monitoring of the growth rate will give as a
better measure as we get closer.
	I just found out this morning that the Stephan F.
Austin State University Mast Arboretum in Texas is
about to be home to the first Titan Arum bloom in
Texas.  They have named their plant ?Jack.? Jack is
about a week ahead of ours, so I left a message with
their director this morning hoping to attain some of
Jack?s pollen. They are receiving pollen from the
plant at the University of Connecticut, which just
finished blooming. 
	DID YOU KNOW: When the flower opens, the tip of the
spadix heats up. This helps give the heavy,
sulfur-based odors the kinetic energy needed to go
air-born and travel long distances to attract
pollinators. The spadix will heat up to the
temperature of a human being. Check out the thermal
images from the University of Wisconsin

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