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World's Largest and Stinkiest Bloom Begins to Flower at San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers

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WHAT: One gigantic plant bloom is about to cause a real stink at the Conservatory of Flowers. Nicknamed Ted the Titan, an Amorphophallus titanum (commonly known as "Titan Arum" or "Corpse Flower") on loan from the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory has just opened, and its bloom will last for only 3-4 days (peaking on the second day). The Amorphophallus bloom is renowned for its incredible size and the strong odor it emits to attract fly and beetle pollinators. Visitors who flocked to see Ted's first flowering in 2003 at Davis likened the smell to everything from dirty socks to rotten flesh to Lake Merritt on a hot day.

"It's also not called Amorphophallus for nothing," says Jim Henrich, curator at The Conservatory of Flowers, of the bloom's extraordinary size and suggestive shape. The Titan Arum bloom is the plant kingdom's biggest reproductive structure and can reach up to 9 feet in height. Related to the Calla Lily, the Amorphophallus starts life as an enormous tuber and then produces a single giant leaf (the leaf can reach up to 20 feet in height and width). Within 6-10 years, the plant reaches its blooming size and will begin to flower. The Amorphophallus blooms only once every two years approximately.

Ted's underground stem or tuber weighed 43 pounds when it produced a bud on April 2. Since then, Ted has been growing 2 1/2 inches per day. Currently standing at over 44 inches, Conservatory staff estimate Ted's bloom will grow up to 5 feet in height.

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In order to accommodate visitors to this rare natural spectacle, the Conservatory of Flowers will extend its hours...

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 27, 28 and 29 remaining open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

The Conservatory will also be open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 30 for Memorial Day.
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WHEN: The bloom will MOST LIKELY begin on Friday, May 27. Media is encouraged to visit that day or the following day, Saturday, May 28. PLEASE CALL 415-753-7271 to confirm that the bloom is in progress.

WHERE:
Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. The Conservatory is located on John F. Kennedy Dr.

NOTE: Please contact Nina Sazevich at 415-752-2483 to notify the Conservatory of your arrival and to arrange interviews with staff.