Titan Arum

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Titan Arum
Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) in the United States Botanic Garden, Washington DC, November 20, 2005

Titan Arum ( Amorphophallus titanum ) in the United States Botanic Garden , Washington DC, November 20, 2005

Order : Frog-spoon-like (Alismatales)
Family : Arum family (Araceae)
Subfamily : Aroideae
Genre : Amorphophallus
Type : Titan Arum
Scientific name
Amorphophallus titanum
( Becc. ) Becc. ex Arcang.

The titan arum or titan arum ( Amorphophallus titanum , Latin literally for "misshapen giant penis") is a species of plant native to Sumatra that belongs to the arum family (Araceae). It produces the largest unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom. The flower, which is up to three meters high, exudes a carrion odor that is adapted to the jungle and thus attracts beetles from the short-winged families (Staphylinidae) and carrion beetles (Silphidae), which ensure their pollination .


sprouting tuber
Fruit cluster
The leaves of the titan arum are reminiscent of a small tree with an umbrella-shaped crown.

Vegetative characteristics

The titan arum is a perennial herbaceous plant that is one of the world's largest flowers and one of the so-called kettle trap flowers . It is not known what age she can reach. The plant consists of a tuber as a persistence organ, which forms a single leaf at regular intervals and forms an inflorescence when there is no leaves . As long as she has the leaf - it remains in place for 12 to 20 months - nutrients are built up and stored in the tuber. The tuber thereby significantly increases in mass. For example, a specimen that bloomed in the Botanical Garden of Basel at Easter 2011 had increased the tuber mass from 8 to 24.5 kg in the preceding 15-month vegetation phase. A vegetation phase is followed by a resting phase in which the leaf dies and the roots of the tuber also wither. A vegetation phase then follows. In order for the flowering stage to be reached, the tuber must weigh at least 20 kg. In 2014 the tuber weighed 45 kg in Basel.

The only large fallen leaf is divided into petiole and leaf blade and recalls in its shape to a small tree with umbrella-shaped crown. To predators to be misleading, the long petiole has white spots that a lichen pretend like he is also to be found on the bark of forest trees. The leaf blade is divided several times.

Generative characteristics

The titan arum is single sexed ( monoecious ). The inflorescence of the titan arum is the largest flower in the world from a flowering point of view . The actual, relatively small flowers sit - female below the male - at the base of the inflorescence and are enclosed by a single, very large bract (spathe). The upper part of the inflorescence (spadix) is greatly elongated and attracts pollinating insects ( osmophor ) through the smell .

If no flowers have been pollinated, the inflorescence withers again after three days; the plant goes into a resting phase, which is then followed by a vegetation phase. However, if flowers have been pollinated, orange-red berries ripen within 8 months . As a result, the plant dies.

Indonesian common names for this species are bunga suweg raksasa or generally bunga bangkai (carrion, corpse flower); it only occurs in Sumatra . Many botanical gardens, such as in Bogor on Java , cultivate this type of plant, but the flowering event occurs only very irregularly every five to ten years.

Chromosome number

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 26.


In order to attract insects such as carrion beetles of the genus Diamesus and short-winged beetles of the genus Creophilus , the inflorescences give off a carrion odor that is unpleasant for humans . The animals crawl down into the spathe in order to lay their eggs there and thus ensure pollination . However, the larvae have to starve to death after hatching. A number of sulphurous compounds and amines are responsible for the bad smell of the flowering plant, including dimethyl disulphide , dimethyl trisulphide , putrescine and cadaverine .

Inflorescence of the titan arum in the Stuttgart Wilhelma (2005)
Titan arum with three inflorescences, May 14, 2006 in the Botanical Garden in Bonn
Titan Arum one week after flowering, Bayreuth 2014


Amorphophallus titanum is one of the most spectacular phenomena in the plant world. It became known in the west through the Florentine botanist Odoardo Beccari , who in 1878 saw leaves and a fruiting plant on August 6th during an expedition in Atjer Mantior on Sumatra and a blooming specimen on September 5th. Beccari sent some tubers and seeds to Florence. The tubers perished, but a few seeds germinated, and some of these seedlings were sent to the Royal Botanic Gardens , Kew , London . There, in 1889, eleven years after its discovery, a plant specimen blossomed for the first time outside of its tropical home. As early as November 1878, the year it was discovered, Beccari announced his extraordinary find in the Gardeners Chronicle and named the plant Conophallus titanum . Giovanni Arcangeli gave it its current scientific name in 1879.


The record for the world's largest titanium arum inflorescence is held by the Cibodas Botanical Garden, Bogor , Indonesia , with a height of 3,734 meters in 2016.

In 2006, the Bonn Botanical Garden saw the first Titan Arum outside of its home, the Indonesian jungle , which produced three inflorescences at the same time. The tuber, weighing around 117 kg, had already produced a record-breaking inflorescence in 2003, after 2006 and 2009 it bloomed again in 2017.

In the Ecological-Botanical Garden of the University of Bayreuth , a particularly short period of time between blooming was observed. The same plant that bloomed at the beginning of August 2014 sprout again after less than a year, which opened on June 6, 2015. A second plant blossomed there on June 18, 2016. The same specimen bloomed in the palm garden of the city of Frankfurt in April and December 2018 without developing a leaf in between. Both inflorescences were over 2 m high.

Places with Titan Arum in German-speaking countries

Alphabetically by location:


  • The German name Titanenwurz is sometimes used for other, closely related species with also very large inflorescences, for example for the devil's tongue ( Amorphophallus konjac ).
  • While the titan arum is called the largest flower in the world, the plant species Puya raimondii forms the largest branched inflorescence with a height of almost eight meters, the largest single flower is formed by the species Rafflesia arnoldii .

Web links

Commons : Titanenwurz ( Amorphophallus titanum )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ö1 radio from the life of nature , April 29, 2013
  2. Titan Arum only bloomed for three days! Amorphophallus titanum - Largest stink flower in the world from Indonesia. Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin, accessed on March 9, 2017 .
  3. "Tropicos"
  4. Guinness World Records - Tallest Bloom. Retrieved July 20, 2014 .
  5. May 30, 2009
  6. Stink attracts in: Nordbayerischer Kurier of June 8, 2015, p. 10
  7. The small titan arum shows it all in: Nordbayerischer Kurier from June 20, 2016, p. 8
  8. Waiting for the spice in: Nordbayerischer Kurier from 18./19. June 2016, p. 10
  9. Bloom in Berlin 2009
  10. Rare giant flower blooms for the first time in Bochum
  11. Dortmund is waiting for Titan Arum
  12. www.giessener-allgemeine.de - Your newspaper for Giessen and the surrounding area: Gießener Allgemeine Zeitung | Flowering after 19 years. Retrieved June 14, 2017 .
  13. Bernd Schlegel, Stefan Rampfel: Flowering titan arum attracts visitors to the Botanical Garden in Göttingen. Hessische / Niedersächsische Allgemeine , March 3, 2018, accessed on March 4, 2018 .
  14. Christoph Mischke: For the first time the Titan Arum is blooming in Göttingen. Göttinger Tageblatt , March 3, 2018, accessed on March 4, 2018 .
  15. Time lapse: This is how the titan arum blossomed. NDR , accessed July 26, 2014 .
  16. ^ Titan Arum in Herrenhausen. Herrenhausen Gardens of the State Capital Hanover, archived from the original on July 20, 2014 ; accessed on March 4, 2018 .
  17. Lisa Schirmer: Sensation: Mega bloom in Jena - ANTENNE THÜRINGEN . In: ANTENNE THÜRINGEN . ( antennethueringen.de [accessed on June 6, 2017]).
  18. Titan Arum blooms in the Botanical Garden. SHZ , accessed July 26, 2014 .
  19. Cologne titan arum shortly before flowering. Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger , accessed on August 16, 2014 .
  20. Biggest flower in the world before bloom. ORF , accessed on June 5, 2019 .