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Re: [aroid-l] what does inflorescence mean?

  • Subject: Re: [aroid-l] what does inflorescence mean?
  • From: "Albert Huntington" amh@ieee.org
  • Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2003 11:45:34 -0500

Hi Nancy,

  I'm probably going to end up repeating information already 
provided by others, but here goes...

  Inflorescence ( not to be confused with fluorescence ) is a 
technical term for something us non-botanists would usually just 
call a flower.  In an aroid, it typically means the spathe and the 
spadix including all the little tiny male and female flowers 
attached to the spadix.

  If one wants to get all technical-like, the largest 
inflorescence probably belongs to the Talipot palm, Corypha 
umbraculifera - but it doesn't look like just one flower to us non 
technical people - it looks like a cluster of flowers - a 30 foot 
tall cluster of flowers.  There are also some agave and bromeliad 
species which produce pretty large inflorescences.

  The largest single flower is likely Rafflesia arnoldii, a 
parasitic plant that grows in southeast asia.  It gets about 3 
feet wide.  So far, nobody has been able to grow this one in 
captivity successfully.

  So what do we have?  Amorphophallus titanum - the largest 
inflorescence that looks like a single flower to laypeople.  Not a 
title that trips off the tongue, but still a pretty darn cool 

  There's some more information about plant record breakers at:


--- SongString@aol.com wrote:
> What does inflorescence mean?  It reminds me of something 
> that glows in the dark, but that can't be right. I know
> the flower of the .Titanum is the largest inflorescence, 
> but does that mean there is another flower that is larger
> in the world, because it is not categorized as an
> inflorescence?
> If there is a larger flower than the A. titanum, what is it?
> Nancy

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