In news- Recently in San Francisco’s Bay Area a corpse flower bloomed.
About the corpse flower-
- The ‘corpse flower’ is a flowering plant, which is native to the rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia.
- The flower is known for its putrid smell, which is often compared to that of rotting flesh.
- Its scientific name is ‘Amorphophallus titanum’.
- The ultra-rare plant is known to bloom only once every seven to ten years.
- The flower is also considered to be one of the world’s largest ‘unbranched inflorescence’ or a stalk bearing a cluster of flowers.
- The average corpse flower has a lifespan of about 30-40 years.
- Its saplings have been cultivated in zoos, botanical gardens and greenhouses around the world.
- It can grow to be up to 10 feet tall and unveil two of its key components – a deep red skirt-like petal known as the ‘spathe’ and a yellow rod-like ‘spadix’.
- The ‘corm’, a fleshy underground plant stem, acts as a storage organ where the corpse plant’s energy is stored.
- The unique plant is said to have the biggest corm in existence, sometimes weighing around 100 kgs.
- The main odorant which gives the flower its distinct smell is dimethyl trisulfide, the same compound that is emitted from cancerous wounds, microorganisms and some vegetables.
- The stench is also caused by chemicals like dimethyl disulfide and methyl thioacetate, which are responsible for the garlic and cheese-like odour, as well as isovaleric acid, which gives the flower its sweat-like smell.
- The flowers of the plant are pollinated by scavenging insects, which are drawn to it due to its odour, hence it is also known as a Carrion flower.
- It was listed as an endangered plant in 2018 by the IUCN.
- It is not easy to preserve the corpse flower outside its natural habitat as it requires a very specific level of heat and humidity to thrive.
- The seeds of the plant known as recalcitrant seeds are not easy to store either as drying and freezing – the main methods to store seeds will kill them.