On April 12th, the Foster Botanical Garden in Hawaii was the scene of a rare and absolutely sensational event : a titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) produced a gigantic flower ! During the brief blooming period – only lasting for 72 hours – the visitors were amazed by this huge inflorescence exhaling a fetid odor reminiscent of rotten meat, which helps to attract beetles and flies for pollination !
Considered to be the biggest flower in the world, the titan arum inflorescence can be 3 meters (10 feet) tall and weigh about 70 kilograms (154 pounds) ! Although it was very impressive, the Foster Botanical Garden titan arum inflorescence is not the biggest of all. In 2003, a titan arum inflorescence reaching 2,74 m (8 ft 11 in) in height was measured at the Botanical Garden of the University of Bonn. On October 20th, 2005, this record was beaten at the Wilhelma Zoological and Botanical Garden in Stuttgart, also located in Germany. The measured inflorescence then reached a height of 2,94 m (9 ft 6 in). This record was beaten again on June 18th, 2010, by Louis Ricciardiello a citizen of the United States. The specimen he was growing had an inflorescence measuring 3,10 m (10ft 2in) high. This event has been registered by Guinness World Records.
However, the titan arum does not produce a single flower but an inflorescence called a spadix, composed of innumerable small flowers. From a botanical point of view, the plant that has the largest flower in the world is the rafflesia (Rafflesia arnoldii). This plant native to Indonesia's forests can produce flowers reaching nearly a meter (39 inches) in diameter and weighing up to seven kilos (15 pounds) ! Like the titan arum, the flower of the rafflesia exhale a corpse perfume !