Rare stinky corpse flower blooms in Canada
Elizabeth Stewart, a master gardner from Toronto, admires the Amorphophalus titanum or Titan Arum, which has bloomed at the Niagara Parks Floral Showcase in Niagara Falls. It is the tallest flower in the world and it’s believed to be the first time it has ever bloomed in Canada. The flower is 241 cm. (95 inches) in height.(TONY RICCIUTO/Niagara Falls Review)
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Big news in the flower world.
In fact, it doesn't get any bigger than this.
The world's tallest flower, also known as Amorphophallus titanum or corpse flower because it smells like rotting flesh, has finally bloomed at the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse in Niagara Falls, Ont.
"To our knowledge, this is the first time it has ever bloomed in Canada," said Joan Cornelius, manager of the Floral Showcase, located just south of the Horseshoe Falls on the Niagara Parkway.
"In the world, there have only been 151 recorded, that's not very many, and this is the first one in Canada so we were pretty excited about it, she said.
The flower — which lasts for about three days — began to bloom at about 5 p.m. on Friday and by 10 p.m. it was fully open.
Although beautiful, the bloom emits a foul odour to attract insects for pollination.
"We kept watching it and it was unfolding about three inches every half an hour. It was amazing how quickly it opened," said Cornelius. "It stands 95 inches tall, just short of eight feet, and the world record happens to be 10 feet 2 1/2 inches."
On Saturday, there was a steady flow of visitors coming in to view the giant flower and to have pictures taken beside it.
The Niagara Parks Commission has two of the tallest flowers growing on site and people have been able to follow what progress was being made by visiting their website.
"Up to this point, people were coming in to watch the bud develop and we do have a second one behind this one. This has been fascinating for all of us who have been waiting for it to open." said Cornelius.
The tip of the spadix has started to bend over as the flower has finally opened.
The NPC's plant expert, Wayne Hoeschle, said once the flower has fully opened it will last about three days before it will recede and be replaced with a tree-like stalk.
"We will continue to give daily updates on our blog. The second bud is about 10 days behind the first one. It could be a little bit different because of weather conditions and it could have a bearing on the timing," said Cornelius. "The second one we have grew about six inches yesterday."
Because of all the excitement surrounding this rare plant, the Floral Showcase has extended their hours from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily until the end of the second bloom.
The massive bell-shaped flower is about three metres in height. It is also known for its unique smell. After flowering, a single leaf emerges in the place of the blossom, which is the size of a small tree, standing up to six metres tall and five metres across.
The two dormant corms (bulb like structures) were donated to the NPC by Louis Ricciardiello of Gilford, N.H. At the time when they were donated, each corm weighed 68 kilograms (150 pounds).
This flower is exceedingly rare to see.
Until 1989, only 21 flowerings were recorded to have occurred in botanical gardens worldwide.
Elizabeth Stewart, a master gardner from Toronto, just happened to be in Niagara Falls on the weekend with her daughter for a dance competition.
"For me, it was pretty exciting to be here at this time because I've been following the information on the blog. I was worried it was going to bloom earlier in the week and I would miss it. This has been really exciting for me. It's so neat to see it up close and to actually be here," said Stewart.