Rare flower draws hundreds

July 20, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 06:02 am IST - KALPETTA:

Crowd-puller:Amorphophallus titanum in bloom at Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary in Wayanad.

Crowd-puller:Amorphophallus titanum in bloom at Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary in Wayanad.

Hundreds of people lined up at the Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary at Alattil, near Periya, in north Wayanad to get a glimpse of a rare and the largest flower in the world that smells like rotting flesh and is almost two metres tall.

The Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary, established by late Wolfgang Theuerkauf, a German who dedicated over 30 years of his life to the conservation of plants of southern India, has been growing the Amorphophallus Titanum or Titan arum , more commonly called the Corpse Flower, the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, for nine years.

It began opening on Monday in the garden’s green house.

Suma Keloth, conservationist of the sanctuary, said the plant, which is native to Indonesia’s Sumatra region, had been grown from a seed planted about nine years ago. The corpse flower cannot self-pollinate and its stench attracts sweat bees and carrion beetles that live on animal carcasses.

In the wild, these creatures will carry the plant’s pollen to other corpse flowers.

The flower will last for just 48 hours before it collapses in on itself.

Apart from the Amorphophallus Titanum, the sanctuary has been harbouring more than 200 species of orchids, of the 300 species reported in the Western Ghats, 250 species of ferns, 50 varieties of balsam and 20 species of araceae species of plants including Amorphophallus Titanum.

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