This Giant Plant Looks Like Raw Meat and Smells Like Dead Rat | Deep Look

It happens maybe only once a decade and lasts about 24 hours. The bloom of the rare and gigantic Titan arum, better known as the “corpse flower.” It’s a mimic. It copies the stench of dead, rotting animals. But hold up. What you’re looking at isn’t actually
the flower. That part? It’s a modified leaf called the spathe. It even looks like raw meat. And this is the spadix. It heats up, like a mammal’s body … so
warm, it steams. It’s all meant to attract its pollinators,
insects that lay their eggs on fresh carcasses. But the flowers? They’re way down in here. Each of these is a male flower. And below are the female ones. With just hours to reproduce, the stakes are high for titan arum. It would be easy if it could reproduce using its own pollen. But the plant needs fresh genetic material
– pollen from other corpse flowers – to make these, the fruit and seeds that eventually will become healthy new plants. So it staggers things. The female flowers are ready first. They get sticky. The plant sends out its powerful stench, more than 30 chemicals in all. Some are nice. The spathe releases a jasmine smell. But mostly, it smells like funky cheese, rotting garlic, or dead rat in the wall. That aroma tricks flies to come investigate, thinking it might be a good spot for their young. And they might bring along pollen from another corpse flower, brushing it on the female flowers. A few hours later, the male flowers release strings of pollen. Some of it falls on the female flowers, but
by then they’re no longer able to use it, which is how the plant avoids pollinating
itself. Titan arum is rare. Poachers and deforestation in Sumatra, where it’s from, have taken a toll. And in botanical gardens, like here at the
University of California in Berkeley, there aren’t any other titan arums in ¬¬bloom
to share pollen with. So when one opens up, biologists often collect pollen by hand to freeze and use later, when another corpse flower is ready. Which is how this lonely giant survives, with such a foul and fleeting bloom. Hi, it’s Lauren. We found this little guy cruising on a corpse flower in Berkeley. Slugs sometimes pollinate plants, but usually not corpse flowers. To see some primetime pollinators, check out our episode about how bees vibrate to collect pollen. And watch what happens when you put a hummingbird in a wind tunnel. See you next time!

100 thoughts on “This Giant Plant Looks Like Raw Meat and Smells Like Dead Rat | Deep Look

  1. This reminds my bio class where someone played sweet home Alabama during the mentioning of inbreeding of flowers

  2. We have the smaller version of this (30-45cm tall). And there are one season you will found this flower in your backyard (not only one flower, sometimes you wil found 3-5) aaaannnnd yeah, imagine the smell

  3. We have a rarer yet almost unnoticeable different version of this plant in Florida Selby gardens, that only blooms every 70-80 years not 10 – 20. I’ve only seen it once on bloom and possible will never again.

  4. If it weren't for humans collecting pollen so others could pollinate, these flowers would be dead meat.

  5. Very interesting but I work with enough people that resemble this smell – won't be seeing this flower anytime soon, thanx 😟😷

  6. I don't know why I watched this. Furthermore, I don't know why I watched the whole thing. It was in my recommendations for some reason. I left a like.

  7. It's called a egg plant I've raed a book about plants it smells like a rotten egg and a dead rat and I'm not jokeing… it's descusseting

  8. I'm from Indonesia and there is another flower with terrible smell. Its name is Rafflessia Arnoldi. Discovered by Thomas Stanford Raffless at the time of British occupation in Indonesia. The flower smells really horrible.😵😵

  9. Looks like raw mean, and smells like dead rat

    Mr Stark..I don’t feel so good 🤢

  10. It smells like a dead rat? I saw a time lapse video of this in a room somewhere, good god it must have smelled terrible in there.

  11. is it just me or does the male part of the plant look like exploding white heads when it releases its pollen lol

  12. What I see on the recommendation screen:
    “This plant looks like raw meat and smells like D…”

    *Clicks in video*


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