Titan Arum, Athena, first opened on August 2, 2021
ATHENA is the offspring of Metis (BU) crossed with Wee Stinky (Cornell) in 2012. Athena opened its first inflorescence in the EW Heier Teaching Greenhouse and appears to be on its way to producing seeds.
Overview of our Amorphophallus titanum - Metis
Our Titan Arum, named Metis, was donated in 2007 by John Kawamoto at the request of Binghamton University alumnus Werner Stiegler. John won three seeds in 2005 from an auction held in Bali, Indonesia. He grew the young plants for two years prior to donating one plant to BU in 2007. When we received the corm it weighed just over 4 lbs, but after one year of growth it weighed an incredible 40 lbs as it entered dormancy! In the three years Metis was in the Tropical Room prior to 2010 it put up two leaves, the last was 10 foot high and 10 foot wide. Metis put up an inflorescence in September of 2010, opening after four weeks of growth to a crowd of over 2,000 visitors. We collected pollen and sent one vial to Hawaii to another grower in the spring of 2011; the other vial went to Cornell University in the spring of 2012. Currently, the EW Heier Teaching Greenhouse has offspring of both those crosses.
Metis produced a leaf following the first inflorescence and that leaf died down in May 2012. The corm weighed 51.4 lbs in August 2012 while the plant was dormant. Dormancy lasted all the way to May 2013! On May 14, 2013 the tip of growth was seen coming up from the corm and all indications was it was another leaf. No - it was another inflorescence!
Metis went into dormancy after the 2013 inflorescence and then had one leaf that died down in April, 2014. At that time, the corm weighed 95lbs! In May it showed signs of development and we rapidly planted it into its large tree box in the Tropical Room. Growth showed signs of another bloom and by August 17th this was confirmed with the first sign of the spadix developing.
Metis was pollinated with pollen from Ohio State's Scarlet. Some development was seen but Metis aborted the stalk.
Following is a sequence of the bloom in 2015:
August 31 - METIS was full open Sun night/ early Mon morning. We pollinated at 1:00am, 1:30am and 2:00am. What a night! It was raining out, so some of the odor may not have traveled as it normally would have, but it was still mighty stinky in the house with Metis. Monday night we will collect the pollen and will be open until 10:00 pm.
August 30 - 4:30 p.m. OPENING!!!
August 29 - The front bract is drying out and looks nearly ready to drop. The outdoor temperatures start to climb today; maybe that will push Metis along. It now stands 7 foot tall from the soil line.
August 28 - Not much change overnight. It gained a couple more inches is now at 83 inches in height. We will measure the heat a bit later today. Still waiting on the front bract to collapse.
August 27 - WOW!!! Today's morning measurement is 81 inches. Nearly 7 foot tall!!
August 26 - Metis is 79 inches tall! It is already 4:30 p.m. and the bracts have not dropped, and it needs more color in the spathe frill.
August 25 - Metis is now 74 inches tall. In 2013 it reached a maximum of 73 inches at start of opening. Will it go tomorrow this year, or will it get even larger??
Following is a sequence of the bloom in 2013:
June 21 - Metis put on a big stink last night to a large crowd! Very impressive! This morning it is still gorgeous. We expect the spadix will start to collapse today and the spathe will wilt as the day goes on, so we suggest you visit early! Tonight we will collect the pollen for storage for another Titan.
June 20 - day 38 from first tip of shoot above ground. This is/was our target date for full open. Will it open tonight??? We can't say just yet. Check back this afternoon in case it starts to open. It gained another inch over night and is now 73 inches tall. We are not sure if this means it needs another day to full open or not! It is being very unpredictable.
June 19 - The inflorescence will not open today (famous last words?) but it might go Thursday or Friday. It is now 71.5 inches tall and much wider in girth. There is more purple on the underside of the spathe today but it is not frilling out yet. Stay tuned! The live web cam is now working and the link is above.
June 18 - Wow!! It now measures 70.5 inches and is not showing signs of slowing down!! We are stunned. In 2010 it reached a height of nearly 68 inches in 26 days. Now we are at day 36 and it shows no signs of stopping to open yet! Many people are stopping by to check on Metis' progress and we wish we could be more accurate about full open, but we simply can't.
June 17 - Metis is now officially just as tall (if not a little more) than it was in 2010! Today's official measurement recorded 68 inches to the top of the spadix. The bracts are drying out and soon to drop. How much more will it gain before opening??
June 16 - Father's Day Sunday. The Titan, Metis, is gaining in height rapidly. Maybe this one will surpass 2010's height!!?? It measures 64 inches this morning but it is hard to measure properly now without another set of eyes to verify. We will get an accurate measure on Monday morning. The projection is still around June 20th....give or take. This is now day 34 since first sight of the emerging shoot. (The tall plant next to it on the left is an unfurling leaf of Amorphophallus paeonifolius, also donated by Werner Steigler). We are running out of bench space where these Amorphophallus' really do well!
June 15 - I don't know why I thought this opening of the inflorescence wouldn't be as large as the last one! We are still more than four days away from full open, in all likelihood, yet today it measured 60.5 inches tall! In 2010, at full open, the spadix measured 68 inches. This is indeed a super titan! The overnight delivery of frozen pollen from the titan at Ohio State University arrived last night and will be used for pollination on the night that Metis' female flowers are ready.
June 14 - The stock is clearly seen now from the south side. The inflorescence measures 56.5 inches! Maybe it will make it to last year's total of 68 inches. The bracts are still holding tight so we don't anticipate it opening until sometime next week.
June 13 - This inflorescence is gaining now! It is 53.5 inches and still some days away from full open. The bracts are showing the first signs of withering but are still tight on the spathe. Some curators report approximately four days to full open from the collapse of the bracts, so we are watching that closely.
June 12 - Wednesday the inflorescence measures 48 inches, so it has gained 5 inches since yesterday. Not too shabby! There is not much visible difference since yesterday other than an increase in the overall size. The sun is out today, for a change, so the photo is washed out. We are already experiencing many campus visitors. UPDATE: At 3:30pm the spadix tip now measures 50 inches. We are preparing for visitors and contacting the media.
June 11 - The inflorescence measures 43 inches from top of spadix to the soil. This time the height appears to be behind where it was in 2010 but things are moving along much faster!
June 10 - The inflorescence measures 38.5 inches from top of spadix to the soil. We were totally surprised this morning to come in after the weekend to find it was actually an inflorescence and this far along.