Navigation Links
Chanel, UCSB's corpse flower, blooms and causes a big stink
Date:7/31/2013

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) Chanel, UC Santa Barbara's corpse flower, has finally spread her odiferous wings, broadcasting a stench that smells like a cross between rotting flesh and Limburger cheese. "It's disgusting," said UCSB junior Connor Way, who visited Wednesday morning. "It's pretty nasty."

Other visitors said Chanel smelled like "French cheese" or "a dead rat in a wall." Alex Feldwinn, a computer technician in the Life Science Computing Group at UCSB said, "It really smells like a dead animal not just a dead animal, but a rotting one." Edith Ogella, a longtime Santa Barbara resident, said, "It's breathtaking."

The entire community has been holding its collective breath waiting for UCSB's Amorophallus titanum, its proper botanic name, to bloom. "This is a rare occurrence under cultivation and even rarer in its native Sumatra, where the deforestation of equatorial rainforests has wreaked havoc on its habitat," said UCSB biology greenhouse manager Danica Taber.

Hundreds of visitors to UCSB's greenhouse can now tick off on their bucket list seeing and smelling a Titan Arum. "We've been visiting in Santa Barbara for a month," said David Cooper, who lives in Phoenix. "We came last week but couldn't leave until we saw it in bloom."

Discovered in 1878 by the Florentine botanist Odoardo Beccarini, the Titan Arum, another common name given the plant by Sir David Attenborough in his BBC nature documentary series, heats up as it blooms in order to disperse its "perfume" hence the moniker Chanel. Heat enables the smell to go farther, attracting more pollinating insects and increasing the chance of pollination.

An infrared camera from Goleta-based FLIR captured time-sequence thermal photography of Chanel as her spadix, the tall core spike that houses both female and male flowers, heated up to nearly human body temperature. The plant's temperature began to rise at 7 p.m. Tuesday night and peaked at 95.5F at 12:23 a.m. Wednesday morning. "The data provided by this series of photographs will help us understand how the Titan Arum uses thermal energy to attract pollinators," said Taber.

The Titan Arum heats up by burning carbohydrates stored in its corm, an underground stem that has been modified into storage tissue. The enormous amount of energy expended during this process limits the time the Titan can bloom, which explains why it only blooms for a couple of days and doesn't bloom annually.

Chanel is only the second Titan Arum to bloom at UCSB. Tiny, Chanel's mother, bloomed once in 2002 before dying. The wait for UCSB's next bloom from this giant Sumatran cousin to the common philodendron may not be as long as the wait for Chanel to bloom. Chanel is about to become a mother.

Staff at the UCSB biology greenhouse had the foresight to contact the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., to secure pollen from its plant (nicknamed Mortimer in social media) that bloomed July 21. While Chanel was in heat last night, greenhouse staff applied the pollen donated to the female flowers.

Once pollinated, female flowers develop into olive-sized bright orange-red fruits that are carried in cylindrical clusters up to half a meter long. Inside the fruits are one or two seeds that with tender care and an abundance of patience can develop into the corms from which the Titan Arums grows. Five to seven years down the road, Chanel's offspring could possibly bloom.

"Any seeds that Chanel and Mortimer produce from their cross-continent union will help further conservation efforts for this bizarre, majestic, and threatened plant," Taber said.

"There are 300,000 different species of flowering plants and the corpse flower is one of the most extreme examples of how evolution can result in extreme flowers and pollination systems," said Scott Hodges, professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology. "This is a tremendous opportunity to show students and the general public about plant diversity and biology in general. And there are other teaching opportunities, such as showing conservation students how we can go about keeping endangered species from going extinct by reproducing them in greenhouses such as ours here at UCSB."


'/>"/>

Contact: Julie Cohen
julie.cohen@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New American Chemical Society video on a real stinker: The corpse flowers odor
2. UT Arlington engineer to search for bad algal blooms
3. Jellyfish experts show increased blooms are a consequence of periodic global fluctuations
4. U OF A expert pinpoints nutrient behind fresh water algae blooms
5. Insecticide causes changes in honeybee genes, research finds
6. Pitt team finds mechanism that causes noise-induced tinnitus and drug that can prevent it
7. Genome sequencing provides unprecedented insight into causes of pneumococcal disease
8. Mild blast injury causes molecular changes in brain akin to Alzheimer, Pitt team says
9. OHSU teams with Intel to decode the root causes of cancer and other complex diseases
10. Shedding light on a gene mutation that causes signs of premature aging
11. Dysfunction in cerebellar Calcium channel causes motor disorders and epilepsy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... to their offering. The report ... to grow at a CAGR of 12.28% during the period 2016-2020. ... in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers ... The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics was once again ... of the fastest-growing trade shows during the Fastest 50 Awards ... Las Vegas . Winners are ... of the following categories: net square feet of paid exhibit ... 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 out of 50 ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016   Acuant , ... verification solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous ... that add functional enhancements to existing physical ... and venues with an automated ID verification ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a leading national childhood cancer ... bioinformatics lab, using ,big data, to advance the pace ... Liz Scott , co-executive director of ALSF and Alex,s ... Washington, D.C. , hosted by Vice President ... pediatric cancer research and awareness. The ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Global demand for enzymes is forecast to grow ... billion.  This market includes enzymes used in industrial ... animal feed, and other markets) and specialty applications ... beverages will remain the largest market for enzymes, ... containing enzymes in developing regions.  These and other ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ("Biorem" or "the ... major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, LP and Clean ... based venture capital funds which together hold approximately ... fully diluted, as converted basis), that they have entered ... equity holdings in Biorem to TUS Holdings Co. Ltd. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)...  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: SQNM ), a ... the development of innovative products and services, announced today ... States denied its petition to review decisions ... U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 Patent") are not patent ... Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories decision.  ...
Breaking Biology Technology: