Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden to Harvest Corpse Flower Berries Thursday, March 13/1/2018
DES MOINES, Iowa — Staff at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, home to “Carrie” the corpse flower, will harvest successfully pollinated berries from the notorious plant at noon Central Standard Time on Thursday, March 1. The harvest will be broadcast on the Botanical Garden’s Facebook page (facebook.com/dmbotanicalgarden) and include a Q-and-A session.
Once all of the berries have been picked, Botanical Garden staff will clean and remove the seed(s) from within each. Some will remain at the Garden to be sown and cared for. The remainder will be sent to institutions as far away as Argentina with the hope of producing future corpse flowers.
After harvest, the peduncle (green stalk) that remains will wither away and the plant will most likely enter a two- to three-month dormancy. Afterward, it will send out a new leaf that resembles a small, umbrella-shaped tree approximately once a year to absorb sunlight to build up energy for its next flowering cycle, which will take at least several years. The plant will remain in its current location in the conservatory.
The Botanical Garden was committed to pollinating the corpse flower because Amorphophallus titanum has fallen victim to deforestation and poaching in its native Indonesia, and to help create more genetic diversity within the species.
“The Botanical Garden is excited to share this next chapter of Carrie’s journey,” said Botanical Garden President and CEO Stephanie Jutila. “We’re proud to help educate about this wonder of the horticultural world and share the seeds from our Amorphophallus titanum with other institutions so they can do the same.”
About the Corpse Flower
In July 2017, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden was home to Iowa’s first-known Amorphophallus titanum, commonly referred to as corpse flower. The plant, dubbed “Carrie” (short for Carrion My Wayward Son) opened for less than 24 hours and emitted an odor akin to rotting flesh, attracting nearly 12,000 people over a two-week period. On the day of bloom, July 25, Carrie was pollinated using pollen from another corpse flower that had recently bloomed in St. Louis. Botanical Garden staff has monitored the plant closely since July, and the fruits now appear to have matured to the point that the berries are ready for harvesting. For the history of the corpse flower and FAQs, visit dmbotanicalgarden.com/corpseflower.