‘Wurzi’ il fiore-cadavere sta tornando – The corpse flower is back to Frankfurt

E non è solo…

Del fiore (che sa di) cadavere e di quanto puzza vi avevo già parlato. L’anno scorso ne avevo beccato la fioritura al Palmengarden di Francoforte, dove la pianta sembra trovarsi proprio bene… Infatti in questi giorni ci sono altre due fioriture in arrivo!

Non è una cosa tanto facile, c’è una vera e propria gara tra i giardini botanici in giro per il mondo, e le fioriture di solito sono monitorate e seguite, tanto che in alcuni posti, quando ce n’è una si creano file di centinaia di persone per vederlo, e annusarlo.

E niente sto fiore puzzolente (ma precisiamo è un’infiorescenza) mi ha conquistata, e questa volta, in collaborazione con Hilke Steinecke del Palmengarten di Francoforte, terrò un visita guidata per annusarlo e conoscerlo meglio. Se per caso in questi giorni siete da queste parti scrivetemi! (qui sotto i dettagli).


‘Wurzi’ and the little brother are about to bloom in Palmengarden Frankfurt. Credit: perfectsenseblog.


An evening with Amorphophallus titanum

A journey into the lovely stinky-world of the corpse flower

 in collaboration with Dr. Hilke Steinecke – Palmengarten Frankfurt

Let’s make it clear from the beginning; if they call it ‘corpse flower’ there is a reason.

And now, imagine being the first person who found it.

We are in the 1878 and Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari is exploring the tropical forest in Sumatra: a walk through all kind of green, a rich atmosphere, lush and highly humid, full of odors coming from the vegetation. Odoardo at a certain point is been catching from a strange scent, an unusual smell like something rotten. He thinks there must be a monkey-carcass somewhere nearby or something similar…

Odoardo starts to follow the putrid scent, but It turns out what he finds is not the remaining of a dead animal, but something way more interesting, and astonishing: a three-meters tall flower standing in front of him.

It is called Titan Arum, Amorphophallus titanum in Latin, which comes from ancient Greek and means άμορφος – amorphos, “without form, misshapen” and φαλλός – phallos, “phallus”, and “titan”, “giant”. The plant, from the Araceae family, consists of a smelly spadix of flowers wrapped by a spathe (a leaf-like bract), and it is the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, though commonly named giant “flower”. And it stinks. Heavily and deadly. Why the plant produces such odors?

Meet Amorphophallus titanum at the Palmengarten in Frankfurt during a special tour in the evening, when the giant flower releases its putrid lovely scent at its best. We will talk about the olfaction, the sense of smell, and how we sense odors. We will have a special focus on stinky plants and on the particularities of Amorphophallus titanum.

Free your nose, It’s gonna stink…

Practical information

When: We don’t know! We are making the countdown for the plant to bloom, it can happen anytime within the next days. If you are interested in it write an email to hilke.steinecke@stadt-frankfurt.de  or to anna.derrico@gmx.de and we will let you know as soon as we are ready for the tour.

The tour will take place at h.19:30 and it takes almost 1.15 hours

Where: Palmengarten Frankfurt – Siesmayerstr. 61, 60323 Frankfurt am Main

Entrance: : It is Free! (donations are welcome)

Further information: hilke.steinecke@stadt-frankfurt.de   Tel: 069 212 38149