For the first time in almost 25 years, the Amorphophallus decus-silvae, a tropical plant from the jungles of Indonesia and Java (commonly known as the penis plant), has bloomed in the greenhouses of the botanical garden of Leiden University in the Netherlands. This is only the third time that this kind of blossoming has occurred in Europe.
A unique blossoming
In a statement, the university said that the six-year-old plant first showed signs of flowering last September. A little over a month after the bud appeared, it grew to almost a metre high. That spectacle, and the social media buzz that followed, was enough to attract crowds of curious plant-lovers to the garden
On 22 October, the botanical garden announced that the flower had finally bloomed but the flowering period only lasted a couple of days. They said:
At long last! Our Penisplant, Amorphophallus decus-silvae, has opened up fully and is blooming.
One week later, they revealed that the plant had surpassed its peak and was at the end of its flowering journey.
A stinky penis plant
The Amorphophallus decus-silvae is known for its particularly disturbing smell, some say it smells like rotting flesh. But this smell lets gardeners know that the flowering phase will soon come to an end.
Given the surprising bloom, the employees of the garden have seized this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collect as much pollen as they can for analysis, and also to send to other universities.