Perry Attacked by Knife-Wielding Chemist!

Posted on May 14th, 2007 by

Well, it was a scalpel, and we decided to cut a window into Perry’s inflorescence to show her/his bisexual nature (as has been done with A. titanum inflorescences elsewhere). Perry’s current inflorescence is now in decline, and his/her vegetable soul is now retreating into the Temple of the Corm, awaiting rebirth after dormancy, so regret for the desecration is not as intense as it otherwise might be.

The area of Perry’s spathe through which the window was cut was surprisingly thick (at least to our spathe-thickness-uninitiated crew) – about 5/8″ or about 15 mm. The interior part of it has the consistency of elastic styrofoam – light, somewhat stiff, but still slightly pliable. The interior layer is sharply demarcated from the highly distinct and relatively thin inmost layer, which feels hard and waxy. The external layer is a bit like tough celery. So: the base of Perry’s spathe consists, in a conceptual manner, of an outer thin layer of tough celery, followed by a thick inner layer of slightly pliable styrofoam, and lined with a thin, hard, stiff waxy layer.

The payoff for this window-making is a wonderful view of Perry’s female and male flowers. The female flowers are the lower, widely-spaced structures that look somewhat like individual cloves standing on end, and the male flowers are the upper, yellow, tightly-packed structures, as illustrated in the photo. Click on the thumbnail image for a closer view. Stay tuned for much more detailed photos.


Meanwhile, webcam A is focused on Perry’s new window. I’m contemplating widening the window tomorrow.

Here are some links:

live streaming video with audio (the lights are on in the greenhouse tonight)

three webcams (distant, top-down, and close) and Titan Arum web page (the lights are on in the greenhouse tonight)



  1. Carol Christians says:

    How long will the webcams be left on? I would be very interested in watching what happens to the plant as it stops blooming.

  2. Dan Oachs says:

    I think we will leave the webcams on as long as there is something interesting to look at and we have no reason to turn them off yet.

    We will probably stop the live video feed soon but keep the other cameras for a bit longer.

  3. This is sooo Coool!!!