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Western Illinois University's Titan Arum #3 plant on Monday, June 28, 2010. Follow the Titan Arum's progress on Greenhouse Manager Jeff Hillyer's blog at (Photo courtesy of Jeff Hillyer)
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WIU's Titan Arum #1, which bloomed in May. (See "Rare Flower Set to Bloom" for more information about WIU's Titan #1.)
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WIU Titan Arum #3 Is Blooming

June 28, 2010

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UPDATE [June 29, 2:30 p.m. CT]: According to WIU Botany Greenhouse Manager Jeff Hillyer, WIU's Titan Arum #3, known as the Corpse Flower, is blooming. Hillyer noted that the plant began showing signs of blooming this afternoon. For the most up-to-date information on the Titan Arum's blooming progress, visit Hillyer's blog and watch the live videostream at


MACOMB, IL -- The aroma of rotting flesh may not permeate Western Illinois University's Botany Greenhouse today. But, hopefully, it will either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. WIU's second Titan Arum (known as Titan #3) -- a plant that is also known as the "Corpse Flower," due to its pungent smell once it blooms -- has begun the blooming process, and Greenhouse Manager/Gardner II Jeff Hillyer was hoping that Titan #3 would bloom this afternoon (Monday). But based on his experience with WIU's Titan #1 (which bloomed in May), he is confident it will bloom sometime this week.

"Last night, the last bract fell on Titan #3. It should open either today or tomorrow," Hillyer writes on the blog he's set up for the WIU Botany Greenhouse ( "When it decides to open, it will start in the afternoon, sometime between 1 and 3 p.m. and then be fully open by 8 or 9 p.m. The daily growth has slowed significantly to only one and 5/8 inches for the past 24 hours. This is another sign that it will open very soon," he notes.

According to Hillyer, Titan #3, as well as three others at WIU, all came from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002.

"We obtained them as seed, and since then we have been growing them. We were fortunate enough to have one bloom in May; that was Titan #1. Titan #2 is lagging a bit behind, but, recently, Titan #3 decided to take off and produce an inflorescence for us. So, hopefully, in the next couple of days it will open up."

Hillyer also has a live video camera pointed at the plant so viewers worldwide can see this fairly rare phenomenon. Visitors can access the live video stream at (Editor's Note: The videostream connection may sometimes be affected by humidity levels. If the video does not appear, please try again later.)

For those interested in watching its growth progress in June, there are two time-lapse videos posted on Western's YouTube Channel at (Titan #3 from June 9-16 at and Titan #3 from June 22-26 at

The Titan Arum plant is native to the equatorial rainforests of central Sumatra in western Indonesia. Hillyer explained that one of Wisconsin's Titans, Big Bucky, was the ovule donor and the pollen donor was Mr. Magnificent from the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota, FL. The seeds for both of these plants were collected in 1993 by James Symon in Sumatra while filming for Sir David Attenborough's BBC documentary "The Private Life Of Plants." WIU's Titan Arums are among the first generation of these plants cultivated in the U.S.

The greenhouse is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and special hours will be scheduled once the blooming process begins. For more information, contact the WIU Botany Greenhouse at (309) 298-1004 or e-mail Hillyer at

Photos of Titan #1 can be found at WIU's Visual Production Center's online photo database at or (Click on "Academics" folder > College of Arts & Sciences > Biological Sciences > Titan flower.)

(Also see: "Second Titan Set to Bloom; Live Videostream Established," June 21, 2010,; and "Rare Flower Set to Bloom," May 2 and April 26,

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