Audrey Update

Hello Plant Lovers,

Audrey the Titan Arum is continuing to grow 3 inches every day.  Trying to predict when the flower will really begin to open is a bit like guessing what day a baby will be born!

titan arum august 24

August 24, 2012

titan arum august 25 2012

August 25, 2012

titan arum august 27

August 27, 2012

Randy Stevenson, a videographer and technician at URI’s Department of Communication and Marketing has been instrumental in helping us get footage of Audrey. Here’s Randy setting up a live webcast in the Conservatory as well as a time-lapse camera which will show the flower opening.

cameras in conservatoryAnd here’s Audrey this morning standing tall at 48 inches!

titan arum august 28

August 28, 2012

And a close up of the beautiful frilled spathe, the circumference of which can reach up to 3 meters/approx 9 feet.

titan arum spathe

Spathe. August 28, 2012

In the last post, I said that A. titanum is endangered. Here’s why: Habitat destruction is occurring through much of Indonesia at an alarming rate and with it ecosystem breakdown – loss of pollinators and seed distributors. The Titan Arum is long-lived, but does not flower often…less than once a year. This doesn’t give it many opportunities to distribute seeds and reproduce before possible destruction of it’s native rainforest.

“The rainforests of Sumatra are under massive threat of deforestation, as vast areas are logged for timber and to make way for oil palm plantations. It is estimated that Indonesia has now lost around 72% of its original rainforest cover, and the scale of deforestation is continuing at an alarming rate. As well as affecting titan arum numbers directly, the loss of habitat is also endangering species such as the rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros), which is an important seed distributor. ” (from the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens website)

Kew goes on to say:

“This species has proved very difficult to cultivate, and there are only a handful of places in the world that do so. Even under optimum conditions the plant takes about six years to flower from seed.”

lifecycle of the titan arum

(Image courtesy of University of California, Davis)

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