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Re: Amorphophallus titanum flowering at Selby Gardens

Selby Amorphophallus titanum update:

On Thursday, May 20, at about 3 PM, the first of our Amorphophallus titanum 
flowering buds began to open. The bud sat unchanged all day and no one had 
noticed any discernible changes until about 4PM, when one of the staff passed 
through the viewing area on her way home. She noticed that the spathe had 
begun to spread away from the spadix and was rapidly expanding. All of us 
scrambled for cameras, press were notified and a photographer, who had been 
selected for the assignment was called in. It was an exciting evening as 
several of the staff witnessed the unfurling! And the nauseating stench 
emitted was everything we might have imagined! The stench began almost 
imperceptibly, then as the evening wore on, the waves of foul odor began 
pulsing at what seemed like regular intervals...at times the wall of putrid 
stench would seem as through it was slamming into each of us with a tangible 
force. It seemed to have a great deal of power. The security guard arriving 
for the 10 PM shift announced he had smelled the odor from the parking lot, 
even before he got out of his truck. At one point as I was facing the almost 
fully expanded inflorescence, a magnificent burst of fetid breath seemed to 
hit my eyes...it felt as though something had actually touched the surface of 
my eye, and my eyes immediately smarted strongly bringing tears! The effect 
was so totally incredible, it must be experienced to believe. I do hope all 
of you with A. titanum waiting to flower will have the opportunity to sit in 
front of this stupendous plant and witness the whole event!

We have another flower that should open within 2-3 days and today we will 
collect pollen from the open inflorescence and save it to pollinate the 
second. I will post another messsage as time permits.

Donna Atwood
Selby Gardens
811 S. Palm Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34236

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