Skip to main content

Cornell’s Titan arum ‘Wee Stinky’ poised to flower again

Reposted from Cornell’s Titan Arum Blog

Plant Sciences major Patty Chan ’18 welcomes ‘Wee Stinky’ to the new Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

Plant Sciences major Patty Chan ’18 welcomes ‘Wee Stinky’ to the new Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

‘Wee Stinky’ – one of two flowering-sized Titan arums in the living collection of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory – is poised to flower again in the very near future. It will be the first Titan arum to flower in the new Conservatory, which re-opened last spring. And as a bonus, its sibling ‘Carolus’ stands nearby in its vegetative stage, its single leaf towering nine feet tall.

Titan arums (Amorphophallus titanum, also known as corpse plant) are famous for producing the largest unbranched inflorescence (flowering structure) in the plant world – as well as producing a big stink. During their brief, two-day display, plants produce a variety of chemicals that mimic rotting flesh to attract carrion flies and beetles to assist with the plant’s sophisticated pollination strategy.  Learn more about the plant.

‘Wee Stinky’ – grown from a seedling provided by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001 – first flowered in March 2012. About 10,000 people lined up to see the plant firsthand at the Kenneth Post Lab Greenhouse complex, while more than 500,000 checked on its progress via webcam. It flowered a second time in November 2014. Sibling ‘Carolus’ has flowered once, in June 2015.

When exactly will ‘Wee Stinky’ flower this time around?

That’s tough to predict precisely, but also part of the excitement. Based on previous flowerings, we currently estimate around October 15, give or take a few days. As flowering nears, growth of the spadix (the column-like structure in the middle of the plant) slows. But we never know for sure until late in the day when the skirt-like spathe surrounding the spadix starts to unfurl. Sign up for email updates (right column or bottom on mobile) and we’ll keep you posted.

How big will it get?

‘Wee Stinky’s’ corm weighed 65 pounds when planted in July.

CUAES greenhouse grower Paul Cooper plants ‘Wee Stinky’s’ 65-pound corm in July.

Last flowering, ‘Wee Stinky’s’ spadix grew to 76 inches tall. That was from a 50-pound corm – the underground tuber-like structure where Titan arums store their energy. This time, ‘Wee Stinky’s’ corm weighed 65 pounds when planted in July. So we expect it will grow considerably taller. You can check progress daily in the growth chart at The Spadix Speaks: Cornell’s Titan Arum Blog (right column or bottom on mobile). We plan to have a live webcam up and running at least a week ahead of flowering.

Can I come see ‘Wee Stinky’?

Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory

Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory

We’d love to have you.  The Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory is open to the public most weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. When flowering begins, we will extend visitor hours. Check the Titan arum or Conservatory websites for hours and visitor information.

The Conservatory is adjacent to Plant Science Building, 236 Tower RoadView map. The nearest public metered lot is the Peterson Lot at the corner of Tower Road and Judd Falls Road, across from Stocking Hall and the Cornell Dairy Bar.

Click image to download handout and lifecycle poster (.pdf)

Click image to download handout and lifecycle poster (.pdf)

How can I learn more?

The Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory houses one of several plant collections curated by the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium in the Plant Biology Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, and is maintained by the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station.

Skip to toolbar