2,000 Curious Visitors in France go to See the World's Most Elusive Plant
More than 2,000 curious visitors flocked to the botanical garden of Nantes, France yesterday— braving hours in line to catch a rare glimpse at the elusive and enormous "Amorphophallus Titanum" flower commonly known as "Titan's Penis."
This immense phallic "corpse flower", originally from western Sumatra, blooms only once every 10 years, for a very short period of 72 hours.
According to Romaric Perroucheau, the director of the garden, what's so extraordinary about this plant is that it's incredibly rare. It naturally inhabits a very small region in the world— a small region of a small forrest— and even there, it is very rare. It's also rare out of the wild: Perroucheau explains that they are very rarely cultivated, in less than twenty countries. On top of that, during the century between it's scientific discovery around 1880 and 100 years later in 1980, there were less than 20 incidents of bloom in the world, says Perroucheau.
"To attract flies, the plant is red. And when it blooms, it's temperature rises— it was 10 degrees (Celsius) higher last night than normal— and smells pretty bad, like rotting meat, to attract flies."
Although stunned by the rare and beautiful view, once inside the glass wall, the garden-goers were full of jokes. The world for "line" in French — "queue"— a double-entendre for the phallic shape. One woman makes the joke "I stood in a 200 meter "queue" to see a giant penis." Very funny, you Frenchies.
via Le Monde