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)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
- Bastiaan, J.D. Meeuse; Hatch, Melville H. 1960. Beetle pollination in Dracunculus and Sauromatum (Araceae). The Coleopterists Bulletin. 14(3): 70-74.
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