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Corpse Gallery

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Choose from 2 images in our Corpse collection.


Amorphophallus titanum, Titan arum
Amorphophallus titanum, Titan arum
Amorphophallus titanum flowering, 1901
Amorphophallus titanum flowering, 1901
Amorphophallus titanum flowering, 1901 Featured Image

Amorphophallus titanum flowering, 1901

The Titan arum, Amorphophallus titanum is known as the corpse flower in its native Indonesia because of the rancid smell, described by Curtis's Botanical magazine as a mixture of rotten fish and burnt sugar, which it emits as it flowers. It caused a sensation when it first bloomed at Kew in June 1889; the odour attracted "many bluebottle flies" and visitors were greatly disturbed by the smell. The artist Matilda Smith, who recorded the first flowering endured many hours painting it and consequently felt ill. The inflorescence can grow to more than 2.5m and is surrounded by a single purple leaf. These photographs were taken over a four-day period during a later blooming in 1901

© RBG KEW