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Morty the Corpse Flower

Erin Grajek

In early July 2014, the Botanical Gardens acquired three Amorphophallus titanum tubers and one is set to bloom. Corpse Flowers (its common name), are native to the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia and are famous for their horrible smell, like rotting flesh, while in bloom. Corpse Flowers can bloom every 6-10 years, making it a rare sight to see and smell!

Like many Corpse Flowers living at botanical gardens, ours has a name, Morty. Corpse Flowers can be quite challenging to grow so Morty’s “Undertaker”, Jeff Thompson, Director of Horticulture and our horticulture team are making sure it has the right conditions to thrive in our environment.
 
It is hard to predict when the plant may bloom but our best estimate of bloom time would be within ten days. Growing quickly, the bloom can grow about two to eight inches a day and can grow six to eight feet tall. When it finally blooms, the flower, and its accompanying stench, lasts only 24-48 hours.
 
Amorphophallus titanum is in the Arum family. The bloom or leaf come from the part of the plant called a corm. A corm is an underground tuber, a swollen plant stem that is a storage organ for plants. A corm is similar to a true bulb. This large structure looks like a big potato and according to his Undertaker; Morty’s corm weighed approximately 120 pounds when it arrived.
 
Morty will be on public display inside the Botanical Gardens and depending on the bloom, will be on display through August.  During its short bloom the Botanical Gardens plans to have extended hours. After it flowers the plant wilts and the stench fades. When not flowering, it will send up a green leaf structure.
 
Visitors can receive updates on the plant, extended hour information, fun facts, and its blooming stage on the Gardens’ Facebook page and through Morty’s Twitter Account @Mortystinks - “like” and “follow” to get regular updates. Use hashtags #corpseflower and #buffalogardens when posting!


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