Corpse Flower

Here’s a fascinating look at carrion flowers, better known as corpse flowers, which emit an odor that smells like rotting flesh. This odor is used to attract scavenging flies and beetles as pollinators, but some species even trap the insects temporarily to ensure the gathering and transfer of pollen. Titan arum (above), which has the world’s largest flower head, presents an inflorescence or compound flower composed of a spadix or stalk of small and anatomically reduced male and female flowers, surrounded by a spathe that resembles a single giant petal. Continue reading for two more videos and additional information. Click here to view more images of the corpse flower.

This plant has a mechanism to heat up the spadix enhancing the emission of the strong odor of decaying meat to attract its pollinators, carrion-eating beetles and “flesh flies” (family Sarcophagidae). It was first discovered in 1878 in Sumatra. The sources of the flowers’ unique scent are not fully identified, partly due to the extremely low concentration of the compounds (5 to 10 parts per billion). Dimethyl sulfides, including disulfide and trisulfide have been detected in Amorphophallus.

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