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

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

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