The Titan Arum first flowered in the western hemisphere at the New York Botanical Gardens in August 1937. According to Bizarre Plants by William A. Emboden, "Visitors other than scientists and reporter-photographers were so numerous that they had to file by the greenhouse and view the the 'beast' through the glass panes. Had they been allowed into the house, the aforementioned stench (very powerful, and suggested a mixture of rotten fish and burnt sugar) might have made many quite ill." Since then, many botanical gardens have successfully grown a flowering Amorphophallus Titanum. Kew Gardens has a very nice page devoted to this incredible plant.
Our much smaller voodoo lily, blooming for the first time, is probably either Sauromatum guttatum or Hydrosme rivieri. I'm not sure which one. If you know from looking at the picture below, please enlighten me. Our friends, Jimi and Leon had a much larger bloom a couple of years ago. Leon, a talented photographer, took the linked picture. Ours is just beginning to open to display the red brain-like inflorescence. We have 6 or 7 smaller ones as the tubers multiply. Usually, they grow into attractive small treelike forms from 3 to 6 feet tall with mottled trunks and lush green canopies. We've had heavy rain today (good for tropical paradise!), so I didn't get to smell the flower to see if it really stinks.
|From Dragon's Orchid Garden|