Welwitschia welcomes you!
The Welwitschia are starting to cone. Above is the first female of this summer with its extra sticky stigma-like pollen receiving portion. Technically these structures seen above are known as cones and not flowers. A close relative of pine trees and Ginkgo this plant is weird in lots of ways. Come see these and other amazing plants do their thing here this summer.
Home of theTitans
Photos are posted on our Facebook page, see below, so you can see some of the progress of the "flowers" various stages including senescense (determined and programmed cellular deterioration).
In case you're wondering, drop in visits are free. See our maps page link above for directions and parking suggestions and the side bar for our public hours.
Stay tuned by liking our Titan Arums page on Facebook!
Want to see some pictures from previous years blooms of the Titan Arums here at UC Davis?
Go to Ernesto's Flickr collections of Titan Blooms and more!
We had two Titan blooms in 2009 about a week apart in Mid May
SEE THE PHOTOS OF TED who bloomed on May 4, 2009
Almost a week after Ted bloomed, a new titan dubbed "Phyllis" bloomed for the very first time. Phyllis is the offspring (via vegetative propagule) of Tabatha, which died in 2004.
SEE THE PHOTOS OF PHYLLIS
Amorphophallus titanum, or the titan arum, was discovered by the Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari in 1878 on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. A specimen was shipped to the Royal Botanical Gardens in England, where the plant was displayed and bloomed for the first time in cultivation in 1889. It may take 15 years for the titan arum to become large enough to bloom, and it is especially rare to see in cultivation. These floral giants have been coaxed into flower only about 100 times around the world, including 7 times here at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory as of June 2011.
It's not a flower — it's a flower holder!
The frilly “petal” of the titan arum is a funnel-shaped leaf called a spathe. The spike that comes up from the center of the spathe is known as a spadix. This spadix produces several hundred tiny flowers, both male and female, way down near the narrow base where it joins the spathe. For the first several hours after the spathe opens up, the spadix puts out the strong scent of a dead animal that attracts flies and carrion beetles for pollination. This is the time when the female flowers are ready to receive pollen. The following day, the odor starts to fade as the female flowers become less receptive, and the male flowers begin to ripen with pollen. This difference in timing between the two types of flowers helps prevent self-pollination, and promotes cross pollination with other titan arums. Flowering of the plant generally occurs every other year, alternating with the production of a single gigantic leaf.
History of the Titans at UC Davis
1995 — A donation of Amorphophallus titanum seed is received
2003 — “Ted the Titan” blooms for the first time
2004 — “Tabatha the Titan” blooms
2005 — “Ted the Titan” blooms for the second time
(exhibited at the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco)
2007 — “Ted the Titan” blooms for the third time
2009 — “Ted the Titan” blooms for the fourth time!
2009 — “Phyllis” blooms for the first time! (Clone of Tabatha)
2011 — "Ted the Titan" blooms for the fifth time
2012 — "Tammy the Titan" blooms for the first time early June