The spathe of the titan arum may attract insects by creating an optical illusion of radiating bright light, using a delicate shading of red pigment that turns to white at the very bottom.

“Looking down into [the spathe’s] depths, there seemed to be a light shining up from the bottom. The illusion was created by a fine shading of the red that turned to white at the lowest point. If any insect flying in the neighbourhood was positively attracted by bright light – and there are many which are – then the spathe’s colouring might have been an optical inducement to fly down to the depths of the great funnel and reach the flowers clustered around the base of the spadix.” (Attenborough 1995:139)

Last Updated August 18, 2016