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"Corpse Flower" Comes Alive June 29

June 29, 2010

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UPDATE [June 30, 3:50 p.m. CT] MACOMB, IL -- WIU's Titan Arum #3, known as the "Corpse Flower," bloomed Tuesday. A time-lapse video of the event is available on WIU's YouTube channel at According to Botany Greenhouse Manager/Gardener II Jeff Hillyer, the plant will gradually close today (June 30).

For the most up-to-date information on the Titan Arum's blooming progress, visit Hillyer's blog at and watch the live videostream at


MACOMB, IL – The Titan Arum – known as Titan #3 and as the "Corpse Flower" – is in the process of opening this afternoon ( June 29), according to Western Illinois University Botany Greenhouse Manager/Gardner II Jeff Hillyer.

"It will be fully open by 8-9 p.m.," Hillyer stated in the WIU Botany Greenhouse blog (, established to track the progress of the Titan. "The greenhouse will be open at least until midnight for everyone to stop by and check it out."

The Titan Arum bloom is actually an inflorescence, composed of thousands of flowers. Its nickname, Corpse Flower, comes from the bloom's odor that smells like rotting meat. In its native environment, the Titan Arum is pollinated by carrion beetles and flesh flies, which are attracted to the odor, Hillyer explained.

Titan #3, as well as three other Titans at WIU, 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 Titan #1 bloom in May," Hillyer said "Titan #2 is lagging a bit behind; but, recently, Titan #3 decided to take off and produce an inflorescence."

WIU's Titan Arums are among the first generation of these plants cultivated in the U.S. Titan #3 stands approximately 78-inches tall, with a circumference of 40-inches.

There is a live video camera directed 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 ). Additional time-lapse videos will be posted after the flower is in full bloom.

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."

The greenhouse is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and special hours will be scheduled once the flower has bloomed. 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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