A Record Set of Blooms for a Rare Flower

The year 2016 was an interesting and remarkable one for many reasons, but here is one you may not have heard of. Turns out that 2016 produced something of a “bumper crop” of blooms for the infamous “Corpse Flower,” whose Latin name is Amorphophallus titanium.

 

These strange floral species have rare blooming patterns, usually with a minimum of 5 years in between blooms and a maximum of 10. Not only are these blooms long anticipated, but they only last for 24-36 hours, making the display something rare to witness. Add on top of this, that, before the year 2000, when the plant had already been cultivated for over 100 years, only 50 blooms had been recorded, then the strange occurrence of 2016 becomes even more unbelievable.

 

BBC reports that in the year 2016, cultivated plants all over the United States bloomed, and all in short succession. States that saw their Corpse Flowers bloom include: Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, Colorado, Missouri, Hawaii, Washington, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. New York also saw one of their flowers bloom after a 77 year wait from the last flowering.

 

This trend of blooms was not limited to the United States (though it did see the most). Other countries that saw flowering were India, Australia, Denmark, Belgium and the UK.

 

The Corpse Flower—named for the stench the flower produces during its short 24-36 hour existence—is something of a mystery to most people, but this recent mass blooming, that happened across the globe, is even stumping the scientists. There are theories that all the plants could be reaching maturity at the same time due to a large distribution of seeds that occurred from 1993-1995, but the connections here are tenuous. Others point to climate, while still others think it could just be due to a better understanding of how to care for the plant.

 

It’s a question that could keep botanists puzzling well into the next 5-10 year wait for another set of blooms.

 

 

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