“Amorphophallus titanium or the Titan Arum, which is native to Sumatra, is considered one of the rock stars of the plant world,” said Paula Gross, interim director of the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens.
The budding titan was christened Odoardo following a Facebook naming contest, and will be called “Odie” for short. Odie is one of two Titan Arums the Botanical Gardens purchased from California in 2008; at that time, the plants were roughly five years old.
In 2007, Bella, the University’s initial Titan Arum bloomed, a first for the Carolinas. The plant is known not only for the size of its bloom but its odious smell that has been described as rotting flesh. Bella bloomed a second time in 2010 before it expired.
“In captivity, Titan Arums usually bloom two or three times, and this bloom will definitely attract lots of people to the Botanical Gardens as it did with Bella,” Gross stated.
When Odie will actually bloom is a mystery, but Gross said when it does, the window to experience it is small, usually on 12 to 24 hours. Cultivating the plant in captivity requires proper care and attention to temperature, humidity, fertilization and water.
Keep up with Odie’s daily progress on the botanical garden’s Facebook page.