The inflorescence of the titan arum plant attracts specific pollinators by emitting an intense, carrion-like odor.


"The titan's inflorescence is said to give off a revolting stench…As we sat beside it, the smell seemed to come in waves. Sometimes it was strong; sometimes it faded. There was no wind in the forest, so we had to conclude that the flower was sending out its perfume in pulses." (Attenborough 1995:139)

"A pronounced odor, different from species to species but usually carrion-like. A truly classical demonstration of its biological significance was given in 1926 by Knoll (1)…the odor serves the purpose of attracting large numbers of small insects-mostly Psychodid flies, but also some Staphylinid beetles-which are thereupon trapped in the floral chamber where they are held prisoner for about a day." (Bastiaan 1960:70)

Watch video

The Private Life of PlantsBBC BooksAugust 21, 1995
David Attenborough

Journal article
Beetle pollination in Dracunculus and Sauromatum (Araceae)Bastiaan, J.D. Meeuse; Hatch, Melville H.

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Living System/s

Titan ArumAmorphophallus titanumSpecies