"Morphy" - The Corpse Flower
Dartmouth Life Sciences Greenhouse is proud to be home to several Amorphophallus titanum, the plant species that grows the world’s largest inflorescence.
Morphy's inflorescence during its 2022 bloom.
Greenhouse Manager Terry Barry shares information about Morphy with visitors.
About Our Corpse Flowers
Amorphophallus titanum undergoes three distinct phases of growth. It has a leaf stage,
during which it grows a large, single leaf. While in leaf the plant gathers sunlight,
transforms it into sugars, and stores the energy in its underground storage unit called
a corm. The leaf then goes dormant and the corm rests with no plant parts visible
above ground until a new leaf is initiated. When the corm has undergone several leaf
cycles and gathered enough energy it will initiate the growth of a large inflorescence
rather than a leaf. The inflorescence is comprised of a tall, yellow stalk called
a spadix that is surrounded by a ruffled, deep purple spathe, and gives off a tremendously
powerful smell that is meant to mimic the smell of rotting animal flesh. It generates
this stink, which earned it the common name corpse flower, in order to attract it’s
carrion insect pollinators. From seedling stage, it usually takes about eight years
to its first inflorescence, though once it has attained a mature size it can flower
more frequently when grown in optimal conditions.
Morphy, fully open in the middle of the night, during its 2022 bloom.
Our oldest and largest plant goes by the nickname Morphy and was planted as seed in 2003. Its corm is now fully mature and has bloomed four times over the past 11 years. At last weigh in Morphy’s corm weighed 85 lbs and it’s tallest inflorescence was 93.5”.
Morphy Jr during its first bloom in 2022.
In 2016 Morphy’s corm underwent asexual reproduction and produced a small cormlet that is a genetic clone to Morphy. We dubbed this new plant “Morphy Jr” to reflect the fact that it is genetically identical to Morphy. Morphy Jr bloomed for the first time one week after Morphy’s bloom in 2022 and has been moving in lockstep with Morphy ever since. While Morphy Jr is still much smaller we are excited to watch how these two clones behave in the future.
Morphy in the News
View the 2022 Morphy timelapse.
Read about Morphy's 2016 blooming. And view the bloom timelapse.
Read more about Morphy's surprise 2018 blooming.