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Amorphophallus titanum inadvertent pollination

  • Subject: Amorphophallus titanum inadvertent pollination
  • From: "Brian O'Brien" <bobrien@gustavus.edu>
  • Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2010 11:14:37 -0500

Hello All,

Our Amorphophallus titanum (Hyperion, nicknamed Perry) that bloomed this past July has surprised us by forming fruits.  I thought that self-pollination was not supposed to occur spontaneously in these plants since the female and male flowers are fertile at different times, but it appears that there was some overlap of the two this time.  Has anyone else observed this for titanum, either with indoor cultivated plants or in isolated plants that are growing outside (cultivated or wild)?

Perry first bloomed in May 2007, and fertilization did not happen.  This time, with the July flowering, the season was advanced enough here for houseflies to be present, and Perry attracted huge numbers of them.  The flies even laid prodigious quantities of eggs in the inflorescence, leading to maggots and to enhanced entertainment value for visitors.  It seems likely that the flies were also the pollinators (at least that's my working hypothesis).

Another thing that I don't know at this point is whether or not the berries will actually produce seeds.   If they do, we should have a few hundred seeds at some point.

Are there any special care techniques that should be applied to the plant while it's maturing fruit?

Here's a blog post that I made yesterday, along with some photos:

Here are some photos on Flickr, including a close-up that's not on the blog site (there are also several other photos from the flowering event):

Here are Philip Patton's (Chlorophil7) photos from Perry's flowering on Flickr (some scrolling down is necessary):

Any commentary on these topics will be welcome.


Brian A. O'Brien, Department of Chemistry, Gustavus Adolphus College
800 West College Avenue, Saint Peter, Minnesota  56082  U.S.A.
e-mail bobrien@gustavus.edu or bobrien@gac.edu 
tel. (507)933-7310     fax (507)933-7041

Chair, Department of Chemistry, 2008-2010

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