Titan Arum 2018

July 8, 2018.  Finally found the time to repot the two Velvet Queen offsets Hardrock and Coco.  Hardrock had already broken dormancy and was sending out roots and a leaf bud.  Hardrock weighed 15 pounds.  Coco looked like it was just getting ready to break dormancy.  Coco weighed 12 pounds.

Hardrock Coco

July 2, 2018.

11:00 PM. Spathe is 39" in diameter.  I think it is as wide as it will get this evening.  Odor is less intense than it was earlier in the evening.  Fewer flies.

Titan Arum 2018  Titan Arum 2018 

5:30 PM.  Greenhouse ambient is currently 94 degrees (54% relative humidity).  The spathe is 91.6 degrees.  The spadix is chugging along at 103 degrees.

Titan Arum 2018  Titan Arum 2018  Titan Arum 2018 

2:15 PM. Confirmation on Corpse Flower bloom.  Spathe is beginning to open up NOW.   Nice and floppy, and the spadix is 10 degrees warmer than ambient.  The greenhouse will be open until midnight tonight and from 9AM to 6PM tomorrow.

1:30 PM.  Looking at the spathe, it is floppy on almost all sides.  More than an inch gap on the south and west sides.  Consider this to be the first BLOOM ALERT

11:00 AM. 73.75” tall and 45.5” around. She hasn't grown much since yesterday. Last bract fell away, indicating she should bloom today (or tomorrow). She’s good to go and I don’t think she will wait until tomorrow. I’ll let you know when it happens as soon as I know.

July 1, 2018.  73.0" tall and 45.25" in circumference.

5:30 P.M. There has been no change in spathe status all afternoon.  I think spathe floppiness was due to hot afternoon wilting (105 degrees in here) rather than bloom activity.  The last, and largest bract is a crispy critter.  It will probably fall away tonight, In 2014 this signalled one-ish day left before blooming.  I still have my sights set on blooming tomorrow afternoon.  I don't think she will wait another day.

I will be here today until 8:30.  If she starts to bloom then, I will tweet it.  Otherwise, if she starts to bloom later in the evening, we will discover that was the case when the sun comes up tomorrow.

Titan Arum 2018  Titan Arum 2018 

2:15 PM No change in the slightly loose spathe. It hasn't opened any further. It's loose on the south and west (facing the sun), but the east and north sides are still firmly hugging the spadix. I'm still monitoring the situation and will keep you informed.

1:15 PM. Just looked at the spathe. One side is a little loose and floppy. So... FIRST BLOOM ALERT! I will continue to monitor the situation and send a confirmation tweet within the hour as soon as I'm sure it is starting to open.

8:45 AM.  72.50" tall and 45.25" in circumference. No spathe floppiness yet.  I'll be monitoring it at the greenhouse from 1:00 PM until 8:30 PM.  IF it blooms this afternoon, I'll tweet an alert as soon as I see any action.

June 30, 2018. 71.25" tall and 44.25" in circumference.

 Titan Arum 2018  Titan Arum 2018

5:00 PM.   The spathe is deep, dark purple inside and the top is a little floppy.  Not enough to suggest it will open today, but showing that it is ready.  The last and largest bract has withered considerably, but is still standing.  It could fall tonight or tomorrow.  I think we are still on schedule for July 2.

I will stay until about 8:30 PM to make sure it doesn't surprise us this evening.  If it does, I'll tweet it.

11:30 AM.  70.5" tall and 42.5" circumference.  Added two inches to height, but nothing to girth.  The next-to-last withered bract just fell away.  Getting very, very  close.

8:00 AM.  This morning I consulted notes and pictures from previous blooms, especially the 2014 one that I think this one is most similar to.  In terms of relative size, physical appearance and occasional "puffs" of ripening aroma, yesterday's inflorescence was very much identical to July 8, 2014.  It bloomed three days later.  So I don't think it will bloom today.  Ithink it will most likely bloom July 2, with July 1 as a distinct possibility.  That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

June 29, 2018.  The inflorescence is 68.5" tall and 42.5" in circumference.

Titan Arum 2018  Titan Arum 2018 

The spathe is dark red inside, nearly purple. I stuck my nose up against the spadix and it smelled a little "off."  I have noticed an occasional "off" odor in the room this afternoon. This tells me it could bloom any time now.  We are now in the ballpark! It's ready to do its thing.  Bwahahaha.  I don't think it will bloom tonight, but it could pop Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.

What time of day has it started to bloom in the past?

2016 @ 6:00 PM...  Uh oh!  Floppy spathe and visitors begin to smell an "off" odor.

2014 @ 1:30 PM...  While showing visitors how the spathe will loosen up as it begins to bloom, I noticed that the spathe, is, indeed, loose.

2012 @ 4:45 PM... Spathe is loose and floppy! One half to two inch gap between spadix and spathe now.

2010 @ 1:00 PM...  The puffs of aroma are becoming more frequent and persistent.  Everybody smells it.  Several flies have been frequent visitors.  One side of the spathe is getting "floppy."

2008 @ 1:25 PM... I noticed that the gap between the spathe and spadix was getting wider and the spathe was "floppy.”

The three "average" blooms started to open around 1:30 in the afternoon.  The "special" ones; one huge and the other damaged, waited until later in the afternoon to open. When it does open,  I expect it to start opening around 1-2 PM

What to expect when it blooms:

In the early to mid afternoon of the day (night) it blooms, the top of the spathe will loosen and get floppy.  Over the next four hours or so, the spathe will gradually open up, becoming fully open by about 8pm.  The spadix will start sending out its "perfume" around 6PM and the odor will be strongest from about 10PM through midnight.

The spathe will be open all night and into the following morning.  Around 10AM, the spathe will gradually start to close up again and wilt through the day.  The odor will linger, but will no longer be "nasty."

June 28, 2018. 65.75" tall and 41.0" around.  Dark red inside the spathe, but not purple yet.

Development is still following the 2014 growth trajectory.  Four more days! Four more days!  Four more days!

Titan Arum 2018  Titan Arum 2018 

More number crunching.  What is the relationship between spadix height and spathe circumference during inflorescence development?  Graphing spadix height vs. spathe circumference shows a consistent linear relationship between the two.  Except for the 2012 zig and zag failed bloom, they all developed in a linear fashion.  The current inflorescence is definitely following the 2014 path.

Titan Arum 2018 

June 27, 2018.  62.0" tall and 38.0" around.  That's +4.0" taller and +2.0" bigger around.The spadix and spathe are growing more like the 2014 bloom, which makes me think that the inflorescence has reverted to the mean.

The spathe is "facing" the raised platform.  When it opens, adventurous (or foolhardy) visitors are welcome to stick their face in it and look at the flowers.

Titan Arum 2018  Titan Arum 2018 

5:00 PM Since we can no longer rely on bracts becoming crispy critters to give us a two day warning, spathe development will have to suffice as an indicator.

Titan Arum 2018  Titan Arum 2018

10:00 AM.  61" tall and 38" around.  The spathe is turning from pink to red. The data are beginning to show inflorescent development is reverting to the mean.  So, this will be an "average" size bloom, probably following the 2014 growth curves.

What is the next developmental landmark? During the first three blooms, the last bract fell away two days before blooming.  However, the last two blooms didn't see the last bract fall away until the day before or the day of the bloom.  So I don't think it will be much help this time.  We may get a one-day warning or not.  So the spathe blushing may be the last major, visible, benchmark we can rely on regarding when it wil bloom other than slowing growth.

 Last Bract Falls Away
Year Days b4
2016 0
2014 1
2012 2
2010 2
2008 2
 Avg  1.4

June 26, 2018.  The bud is 58.0" tall and 36.0" in circumference.

5:00 PM.  First Blush!  Looking down inside the spathe, I can definitely see it beginning to turn pink.  The light shade of pink should darken and be much more noticable tomorrow.  Six days to go... Maybe five.

 Titan Arum 2018

12:00 Even more number crunching.  When previous blooms first blushed, it meant an average of six days before it bloomed.  If we are thinking that this bloom will be average, then it has six more days to go.  However, note that the 2014 and 2016 bloom started to blush only five days before it opened.  I just peeked inside the spathe and it looks a wee bit pink (or it's just my imagination).  Will verify first blush this evening.

 First Blush 
Year Days b4
2016 5
2014 5
2012 7
2010 6
2008 7
 Avg  6

11:00 AM.  More number crunching.  Can the data show us whether this will be an "average" bloom or something spectacular?  The average bloom's peak spadix and spathe growth rates were about 4"/day and 2"/day respectively.  The 2016 bloom's peak spadix and spathe growth rates were about  6"/day and 3"/day, respectively.  Hmmm...  It will definitely be bigger than 2010.  Maybe between 2014 and 2016?  We need to see more 6" spadix growth per day if it is going to be taller than 2016.  Need more data.

Velvet Queen Spadix Growth Rate (inches/day)
Days b4
2016 2014 2012 2010 2008
2 5.00 2.75 1.00 1.00 2.50
3 4.50 3.50 1.25 3.00 3.75
4 6.00 5.00 1.25 4.00 4.25
5 6.00 4.75 3.00 4.25 4.25
6 7.50 5.00 3.00 4.75 5.75
7 6.00 4.25 2.50 5.00 4.00
8 6.00 3.75 2.50 4.75 4.75
9 5.00 4.25 2.25 5.00 2.25
Average 5.75 4.16 2.09 3.97 3.94

Velvet Queen Spathe Growth Rate (inches/day)
Days b4 2016 2014 2012 2010 2008
2 3.50 3.50 0.75 0.50 1.00
3 2.50 0.75 -1.00 1.50 2.00
4 2.50 2.75 0.75 2.00 2.00
5 5.50 1.50 2.50 2.00 2.50
6 3.50 1.75 1.25 1.00 2.50
7 2.00 3.30 0.25 2.75 2.00
8 2.00 1.20 0.25 2.00 1.50
9 2.50 2.25 0.75 2.75 1.50
Average 3.00 2.13 0.69 1.81 1.88


June 25, 2018.  The bud is 53.50" tall and 34.0" in circumference.

That's 4.75" taller and 3.25" bigger around than yesterday.  Definitely growing like a weed now.  

 Titan Arum 2018  Titan Arum 2018

So, the spathe is telling me about seven days and the spadix is telling me about eight days.  Who should I believe?  Is it going to be a tall one with a larger than average spathe in eight days, or an average one with an average spathe in seven days?     *Sigh* Just wait for the spathe to blush and tell me it will be six days.

 Titan Arum 2018


 Titan Arum 2018

June 24, 2018.  The bud is 48.75" tall and 30.75" in circumference. 

5:00 PM. That's plus 3.5" taller and plus 2.0" bigger around than yesterday.  We're over half way home to eight feet!  Past data suggest eight to nine days until it blooms.

I took a peek inside the spathe this afternoon, but didn't see any blushing yet.  First blush means about six days until it blooms.

 Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018 

June 23, 2018.  The bud is 45.25" tall and 28.75" in circumference.

5:00 PM.  Too tall for my yardstick.  Now I need to use a 12' tape measure and stand on a step stool.

Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018

4:00 PM.  Time to go to Plan B.  Having battled all day to reestablish a live video connection to YouTube without any success, I have given up and abandoned YouTube.  I moved the live broacast to UStream this afternoon.  I was able to get 1280x720 @ 720p, so it is acceptable.  Not the 1080p HD I had with YouTube, but it will work.  

12:00 PM.  I'm having problems connecting the video feed to YouTube this morning.  Last week I borrowed a "better" computer than my laptop from ITS to serve as a system dedicated to the live feed.  Unfortunately, the computer uses DeepFreeze and it reset the computer's configuration at midnight, removing the software I installed.   Grrr.

That's not the worst part... The worst part is that I am unable to reestablish a live streaming video feed to YouTube with ANY computer, even my laptop, which was previously working just fine.  The encoding software I'm using says its broadcasting live to YouTube, but YouTube says its offline.  Grrr.  I've been battling this all morning.

I do have a plan B if I can't get the YouTube feed up and running again.  I used Ustream for all previous blooms.

June 22, 2018.  The bud is 41.75" tall and 27.25" in circumference.

5:30 PM.  Hmmm... Measured it twice.  No mistake.  It only grew three quarters of an inch since yesterday. No, wait a minute, that's three quarters of an inch since this morning.  Phew.  I thought it hadn't grown much.  It was 40" YESTERDAY.  So, almost two inches of growth.  Excellent!  The spadix is free to shoot for the sky!

Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018

4:00 PM.  It has been ten years to the day since I first met the Velvet Queen.  Actually, we traveled through life together for seven years before that wonderful night.  For seven years she would smile at me daily with her beautiful impish grin, but never say a word.  And I didn't even know her name until we sat together alone that night, bathed in summer moonlight.  *Sigh*

The Velvet Queen

10:30 AM.  Is there anything the spathe circumference can tell us?  Based on the 2016 growth curve, at 25" in circumference, the graph shows we are about ten days away from blooming.

Titan Arum 2018

Inflorescence Circumference (Inches)
Days 2016 2014 2012 2010 2008 Average
0 52.00 45.00 23.00 38.50 38.50 43.50
1 51.00 44.75 22.50 37.50 37.00 42.56
2 49.50 44.75 21.50 37.00 35.00 41.56
3 46.00 41.25 20.75 36.50 34.00 39.44
4 43.50 40.50 21.75 35.00 32.00 37.75
5 41.00 37.75 21.00 33.00 30.00 35.44
6 35.50 36.25 18.50 31.00 27.50 32.56
7 32.00 34.50 17.25 30.00 25.00 30.38
8 30.00 31.20 17.00 27.25 23.00 27.86
9 28.00 30.00 16.75 25.25 21.50 26.19
10 25.50 27.75 16.00 22.50 20.00 23.94
11 24.00 25.50 15.00 20.00 18.00 21.88
12 22.00 23.50 14.00 19.00 16.00 20.13
13 20.50 22.25 13.25 17.50   20.08
14 19.00 20.50 12.50 16.00   18.50
15 17.50 19.00 12.00 14.50   17.00
16 16.00   11.00 13.50   14.75
17 14.00   10.50 12.50   13.25
18 14.00   10.00 12.00   13.00

7:00 AM.  The spadix definitely emerged last night.  The bud is 41" tall and 26" in circumference.  In 2016, the bud was 41" tall and 24" in circumference when the spadix emerged,  It bloomed eleven days later.  Current estimated bloom date is July second plus or minus one day.

The next developmental benchmark to look for is "first blush" when the spathe begins to turn red.  Past blooms have taken place an average of six days following first blush.


Titan Arum 2018

June 21, 2018.  The bud is 40" tall and 25" in circumference.

5:00 PM.  The spadix hasn't emerged yet, but I can see it playing peekaboo behind the bracts.  It will probably emerge tomorrow.

Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018

7:00 AM. Welcome to the summer solstice and summer!  It's currently cool and raining.  76 degrees and 82% RH in the greenhouse.  Nice for people, but not the best for flower development.  It was 88 degrees in here yesterday afternoon.  Nice for people, nice for plants.

As we pass 40" tall, we are looking for the spadix to emerge.  If we look at previous blooms (except 2012's bad boy/girl), the spadix emerged from the bracts ten or eleven days before it bloomed. Therefore, it will be about 11 more days to go if it follows the 2016 growth curve.  If it is larger than 2016, then possibly 12 days.

Titan Arum 2018

June 20, 2018.  The bud is 37.75" tall and 23.75" in circumference.

The spathe is peeking out from behind the bracts at the top.  I can feel the spadix, but it is still wrapped in bracts.  If the spadix emerges tomorrow, then it will be 10-11 days until it blooms, which places it on July oneth or twooth.

Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018

June 19, 2018.  The bud is 35.75" tall and 21.25" in circumference.  

6:30 PM.   We have other plants in the greenhouse going wild with new Spring growth.  The female Dioon edule (Virgin's Palm) specimen in the Tropical Room doesn't want to be left behind with all the fuss about a silly little "flower."  You can see it photobombing behind the corpse flower, waving its arms and shouting "Look at me!"  Dioon edule, a cycad, is among the oldest seed plants.  It even pre-dates the dinosaurs.

Titan Arum 2018

Not everything is producing new growth, the leaf on one of the 2012 offsets has died back.  But don't worry, it will sprout a new (and much larger!) leaf in a couple of months.

Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018

2:30 PM.  I noticed the top of the bract was leaning to the side.  It should be more erect with ths spadix pushing upward.  I gently explored the bud with my hands to see if I could feel the spathe and spadix under the bracts.  I could feel the spathe.  However, at the tip of the concealing bracts where the spadix should be, it is hollow...  There should be a firm spadix growing behind the bracts.  The spadix should emerge tomorrow or the day after.

Now I'm worried.  Hopefully, the bracts are just unusually tall or the spadix isn't taller than the spathe at this time, or it's going to be a wide and short spadix this time around.  I have a bad feeling about this...

June 18, 2018.  The bud is 34" tall and 20" in circumference.

The greenhouse will be open from 4-7PM for the duration of the event.  It will be open until midnight on the day of the event.

4:30 PM.  It's 93 degrees outside.  We are under a heat advisory today until 7PM today.  With the ridge vents and side vents open and all fans blowing, the Tropical Room is currently a 'comfortable' 99.4 degrees. and 47.4% RH.

Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018

June 17, 2018.  The bud is 31.5" tall and 19.25" in circumference.  105 degrees in the greenhouse.  Love it.

Titan Arum 2018

When I lifted the 120 pound tuber up on April 17 to replace the medium, I discovered four offsets (see pictures below).  Three tiny offsets were attached to their mama and easily snapped off.  One rotted and died, but two of them are doing just fine.  The fourth one was actually buried under the mama tuber and attached to a tuber remnant.  This one probably developed as a survival mechanism after the mama tuber experienced some rot.  It weighs about three pounds, but hasn't broken dormancy yet.  Here's a family portrait of the 2018 brood.

Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018


I've noticed that when these plants get stressed too much, they produce offsets.  That's how I got four offsets from the Velvet Queen back in 2012.  The tuber was VERY stressed (no roots developed for the 2012 bloom, my bad) and hundreds of leaf buds sprouted from it.  These four offsets (Hardrock, Coco, Joe, and Snowball) are all alive and happy.  Their leaves are all dying back again, and their tubers weigh about 8-10 pounds now.

Speaking of which, here is a picture of uhm.. Hardrock? ... uh... Joe? ... uhm... whatever your name is... dying back.  Next to it is the Velvet Queen's leaf dying back last March.  The leaf was enormous and tall enough to drape OVER the fluorescent lighting fixtures in the Tropical Room. The next leaf will probably be too tall to fit in the room.  I think we need a bigger room.

Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018

June 16, 2018.  The bud is 29" tall and 17.5" in circumference.

I'm still doing battle with the live video.   Grrrrr.

Titan Arum 2018

Here is a chart that shows inflorescence development of the Velvet Queen's past five blooms.  I used data from the last 19 days before the spathe opened.  Average values do not include the 2012 data because it was a "failed" bloom.  (Although the 2012 inflorescence failed to develop and bloom properly, I was able to get four offsets from it, which, as it turned out, was even better)

The data suggest that if the current bud develops along the "average" growth curve, it should bloom in about thirteen days. This would mean it would bloom on June 29.  However, each successive inflorescence was taller than the previous one (except 2012)  So, if it develops more along the lines of the 2016 inflorescence, it should take another 15 days before it opens.  This would place the bloom at July 1, which is more likely.

IF we look at how the successive blooms happened about a day later than the previous one, then it should take 16 days to bloom, meaning July Twooth.  You want the Twooth!?!?!?  You can't HANDLE the Twooth!!!

Titan Arum Development 

Inflorescence Height (inches)
Days 2016 2014 2012 2010 2008 Average
0 96.00 76.00 47.00 71.00 66.75 77.44
1 93.00 74.75 45.75 69.50 64.00 75.31
2 91.00 73.25 45.00 68.50 62.00 73.69
3 86.00 70.50 44.00 67.50 59.50 70.88
4 81.50 67.00 42.75 64.50 55.75 67.19
5 75.50 62.00 41.50 60.50 51.50 62.38
6 69.50 57.25 38.50 56.25 47.25 57.56
7 62.00 52.25 35.50 51.50 41.50 51.81
8 56.00 48.00 33.00 46.50 37.50 47.00
9 50.00 44.25 30.50 41.75 32.75 42.19
10 45.00 40.00 28.25 36.75 30.50 38.06
11 41.00 36.50 26.00 33.00 28.00 34.62
12 38.50 34.50 24.00 30.00 25.00 32.00
13 35.50 31.75 22.00 29.00 22.50 29.69
14 33.00 29.25 20.25 26.25 21.00 27.38
15 29.50 27.00 19.00 23.50   26.67
16 27.00   17.50 22.50   24.75
17 24.00 24.00 16.50 20.50   22.83
18 23.00 22.00 16.00 19.50   21.50
19 20.00 20.00 15.50     20.00

June 15, 2018.  The bud is 27.0" tall and 16.0" in circumference. 

Hopefully it is starting to grow like a weed.  It should reach at least eight feet tall in the next two weeks.  We have nine and a half feet of headroom before the spadix bumps up against the fluorescent lighting fixture.  I'd like to see that happen.

This morning while driving to work I saw a dark gray thunderstorm approaching from the west, pushing a rainbow along in front of it.  I hoped the rainbow was a good omen.  It wasn't.

I continued doing battle with setting up the live feed.  If you were inside my head, you would see me running around in circles, flailing my arms about and screaming...  "Why isn't it working?  Why isn't it working?  Why isn't it working?"  This is when Linda would probably stand there and say, "Steven, stop hyperventilating.  Close your mouth and breath through your nose.  See that 'Start Broadcasting' button? Click on it."  "Oh... Duh.. Thanks."

This morning I "temporarily" turned off the ventilation fans in the Tropical Room so I could carry on a conversation without shouting above the noise.  Then I closed the greenhouse doors and went to lunch.  When I came back this afternoon, it was 112 degrees in the Tropical Room.  Forgot to turn the fans back on.  Oops, my bad.


Titan Arum 2018

June 14, 2018.  The bud is 24.75" tall and 15.25" in circumference.

I installed a raised viewing platform to allow visitors to get a better view of the inflorescense.  Unfortunately, I discovered that if I set up the live video camera where I did last time, the only thing you would see at home is the back of people's heads.  D'Oh.  So I had to move my desk - and camera - and cables - and power - to a new location which will provide a much better view.  Just remember not to do anything embarrassing in front of the live camera... please...

Grrrr. Did major battle with installing new software on the computer while setting up the live video feed.  Lost some battles, but won the war, I think.  I also moved the live feed from Ustream to the EIU Biological Sciences YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwDc-yZ3NF9lIPdjU3-CtCAI also did battle with some mud wasps that were building a nest above the Tropical Room heating/ridge vent control station.  Took the broom... Jab jab jab jab... RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!  In the morning we'll see if they got the message or I need to resort to chemical warfare.

Titan Arum 2018

June 13, 2018.  The bud is 22.75" tall and 14" in circumference.  Hot and humid in the greenhouse.  Hot and humid outside.  Just the way I like it.

I'm working on moving the live Internet feed from UStream to YouTube.  Currently a work in progress...  Hopefully I'll have live video up and running by Friday.

Titan Arum 2018

June 12, 2018.  The bud is 21 inches tall and 13.5 inches in circumference.  Hopefully we are moving into the "Reach for the Sky" phase and growth rates will shoot up.

Rainrainrainrainrainrain.  I think we are into the monsoon season.  It's rained most of the day.  A nice slow rain, not the downpore downpour we had yesterday.  But, at least it isn't snow...

Titan Arum 2018 

June 11, 2018.  The bud is 19.5 inches tall.  We should pass the 20 inch mark tonight.  Which MEANS... we're looking at 18-ish days until it blooms.  June 29-ish is the target date.

We had one heck of a daylooge yesterday evening.  Massive rainfall resulted in significant flooding in many buildings on campus, including the Life Science Building and Annex.  Then a nightlooge added another couple of inches.  My bucket was 7" deep in liquid sunshine this morning.

My desk, laptop computer and cameras are in the Tropical Room for the blooming event.  During the downpour yesterday evening, I discovered that the ridge vents, when fully-fully open, form a slight "V" and collect water instead of a "^" and shed it.  Unfortunately, my desk and laptop computer were sitting directly under the ridge vents as the rain poured in.  Fortunately, I was there to rescue my laptop before it got wet.  But the desk got soaked before I could manually close the ridge vents.  Sigh...

Titan Arum 2018

June 10, 2018.  The bud is 18.5 inches tall and 12" in circumference.  This morning was cooled off by thunderstorms that passed through the area, leaving another half inch of rain in my bucket.

  Titan Arum 2018

June 9, 2018. The bud is 17 inches tall and 11.5 inches in circumference.  It was hot and muggy this morning, then a series of thunderstorms passed through, dropping the temperature to a reasonably cool 70 degrees and dumping about an inch of rain in my bucket.

This will be the sixth blooming of our corpse flower.  I have noticed over the past five blooms that the odor intensity has not been consistent.  Some blooms were stinkier than others.  The 2008 bloom appears to have been the most smelly with visitors noticing it at the south end of campus as well as a mile away downwind.  It was so potent in the greenhouse that you could actually taste it.  As I recall, we had a heat wave in progress during that bloom.  However, in 2016, the odor was barely strong enough to make it outside of the greenhouse.  Yes, you could taste it when standing next to it, but it was otherwise 'meh."  The weather was relatively cool that time.  So I'm hoping for a heat wave, a Tropical Heat Wave, this time.

Ambient temperature also appears to affect the bud's growth.  Hotter temperatures, faster growth.  Cooler temperatures, slower growth.  So, if we can keep the temperatures 'summer' hot, I think we can see this puppy pop about June 30, plus or minus four days.

Titan Arum 2018

June 8, 2018.  The bud is 16 inches tall and still 11 inches in circumference.

Titan Arum 2018

June 7, 2018.  The bud is 15 inches tall and 11 inches in circumference.  It looks like it is growing an inch per day so far.  When it reaches 20 inches tall, it should take about 18 days to bloom. So, if it adds another five inches in five days, that puts the bloom at June 30-ish, maybe June 31.

Hot Hot Hot in the greenhouse today.  105F inside.  Very nice for tropical flower development.  Not very nice for us mammals. 

I moved my desk and computer from the comfort of my air-conditioned office into the Tropical Room and set up the live feed. Dripping sweat off of my nose and trying not to let it (the sweat, that is) get in the keyboard.

Titan Arum 2018

June 4, 2018.  The bud is 12 inches tall.  Definitely a flower bud.  I could feel the bump at the top of the peduncle and the bud is bulging on the right-hand side.  Yep, here we go again...

2018 Titan Arum

June 1, 2018  The bud is 10 inches tall.

So, let's say it broke dormancy on May 4 and see if we can figure out IF/when it will bloom.

The table below shows how many days elapsed from each milestone until the day it bloomed in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 and 2016.  The 2012 bloom "failed" and was not used in calculating 2018's probable day of bloom. The 2018 values are my projections for the current bloom IF it develops at a similar rate as the previous blooms.

Table 1.  Titan Arum developmental milestones in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014,  2016 and 2018.

Year Broke dormancy 20" tall Spadix emerged 20" to bloom Bud to bloom Day of Bloom
2008 ? June 5 June 11 16 days   June 21
2010 ? May 22 May 28 18 days   June 9
2012 ? June 16 June 15 15 days   July 1
2014 May 18 June 22 July 1 19 days 54 days July 11
2016 April 24 June 10 June 18 19 days 66 days June 29
2018 May 4 June 14* June 21* 18 days* 60 days* June 30-July 7*

* Guesstimated values.

So, what do these data suggest?  The data show that the inflorescence bloomed an average of 18 days after the bud reached 20 inches tall and 11 days after the spadix emerged.  The 2014 bloom opened 54 days after it broke dormancy and the 2016 bloom opened 66 days after it broke dormancy (probably due to 2016's cooler weather).

In 2018, the bud broke dormancy around May 4.  For argument's sake, lets say it takes 60 days to bloom. That means it will bloom on July 3.  Best guess, therefore, is sometime between June 30 and July 7.  The most reliable determinations of when it will bloom is after it reaches 20" tall, and when the spadix emerges.

May 31, 2018.
  The bud is 9" tall.  Definitely roundish.  The roots on top of the tuber around the bud were starting to stick up out of the medium, so I added another two inches of potting medium on top to bury the roots.  The bud goes down three inches deep.

Titan Arum 2018

May 25, 2018.  The bud is 5.5" tall and is looking "round-ish" like it is probably a flower bud.  However, I'm waiting until it is about 12" tall before declaring it a blooming event...

May 9, 2018.  The bud is definitely breaking dormancy.  Now 2" tall.  

April 17, 2018. 
The tuber looks like it is beginning to break dormancy. The bud is about one inch tall.  The plant went dormant in mid January (about four months later than in the past except for 2016's bloom).  I suspect the reason why it spent more time in the leaf phase is that the tuber is in a much larger container where it was much happier growing.  Hopefully, not tooooo happy since I theorize that it blooms when it is unhappy.

This afternoon I oomphed the tuber out of its container to weigh it and replace the old media.  The tuber measured 24" in diameter, 11" thick and 120 lbs!  While digging it up, I discovered and cut off three small (~40g) plant babies, one large (~3 lb) plant baby, and one 2 lb weirrdly-shaped amorphous tuber thingy sitting under the mama tuber and didn't have a bud .  These plant baby sprouts show that the mamma tuber was definitely stressed.  Hopefully stressed enough to bloom.

Titan Arum 2018 Titan Arum 2018