If you have paid a visit to the glorious Glasshouse at Wisley in the last few days you may have be in awe over the wonderful orchid display, or blown away by the beautiful, lush plants, or perhaps captivated by the cacti. But you might also have been surprised by the pungent aroma in the Tropical Zone.
Don’t worry, our drains haven’t burst! The smell of rotting meat is coming from Amorphophallus rivieri, otherwise known as devil’s tongue, snake palm, or umbrella arum. This plant has flowered for us in the past, though this is the first time we’ve put it on display. In the past we’ve kept it out of sight, or rather, out of smell!
The distinctive smell of this amazing flower is designed to attract flies which help pollinate it. After flowering for a few days, this native of south east Asia will produce a long speckled stem and lush green leaves. It is sometimes grown in Japan for its edible corms.
We have another waiting in the wings, so if you miss this one, you might catch the next. Meantime, if you want to find it, follow your nose to the lift entrance in the Tropical Zone.