Titan arum

A perennial herb with the largest flowering structure in the world

By Eden Project

Eden Project

Titan arum, Rainforest Biome (2020) by Eden ProjectEden Project

The titan arum produces the largest flowering structure (inflorescence) on Earth, growing up to three metres tall.

Titan arum, Rainforest Biome (2020) by Eden ProjectEden Project

The inflorescence only opens for 48 hours, during which it produces an overpowering stench of rotting flesh to attract insect pollinators such as carrion-eating beetles and flesh flies.

Titan arum, Rainforest Biome (2020) by Eden ProjectEden Project

When it blooms the plant produces its own heat to help spread the smell and attract pollinators.

Titan arum, Rainforest Biome (2020) by Eden ProjectEden Project

This plant rarely blooms in cultivation (only producing a flower after 7-9 years) but Tim Grigg, a horticulturist at Eden’s nursery, has had a remarkable success rate having produced many for display in the Rainforest Biome. He has to hand-pollinate the individual flowers. They can take up to seven years to bloom.

Titan arum, Rainforest Biome (2020) by Eden ProjectEden Project

The titan arum looks quite different at various stages of its lifecycle. Here's one at Eden's nursery pictured during its leaf stage.

Titan arum, Rainforest Biome (2020) by Eden ProjectEden Project

The swollen underground storage stem (tuber) can weigh more than 75kg.

Titan arum, Rainforest Biome (2020) by Eden ProjectEden Project


The titan arum is listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as its rainforest habitat in Western Sumatra, Indonesia, is under threat from deforestation. 

Approximately once a year one blooms at the Eden Project, but in some years there are more

Titan arum, Rainforest Biome (2020) by Eden ProjectEden Project

Titan arum, Rainforest Biome (2020) by Eden ProjectEden Project

To attract attention to this amazing plant, in 2016 the Eden Project produced a spoof ad campaign for a foul-smelling fragrance for men made from the titan arum!

Titan arum, Rainforest Biome (2020) by Eden ProjectEden Project

A trial of the fragrance, Eau de Titan, was actually made using extracts from the smelly titan arum inflorescence!

YouTuber Tom Scott visited the Eden Project to make this video about the titan arum.

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