Meet Spud, a stinky giant

Here is Spud (botanical name Titan Arum), aged 13, a tropical plant which has been in the Cairns Botanic Gardens for over 3 years now. What’s so special about it? Well, for starters, when it blooms, which happens roughly every two years, it… stinks of rotting meat! On top of that, the plant stays open for 24 hours only!

My Intermediate students asked me to take them to the Botanic Gardens the moment they found out about this rare phenomenon. We read an article about the Cairns Flecker Gardens, worked on some useful vocabulary and… got on a public bus to the Botanic Gardens the same day in order to make it on time before the flower closed. As you can see in the photo I took (see right), Spud was still open when we came to visit it in the Conservatory.

To our surprise, we were not able to smell any ‘corpse’ stench! It turned out that the flower only stinks at certain times of the day 😉

We still had fun though exploring the Flecker Botanic Gardens! My students loved the sausage tree, snake cactus and carnivorous pitcher plants.

Below are some comments from the Botanic Gardens trip questionnaire:

Gabriel (Ecuador): “I would take my family and friends to the Gardens if I could. I sent them the photos of the giant flower.”

Kate (South Korea): “I saw some wildlife such as butterflies and kinds of bush turkeys.”

Kate (the Czech Republic): “I found the Gardens calm and very relaxing. I loved the wonderful flowers and plants and a wide variety of colours.”

Takuya (Japan): “I was excited to see plants which eat insects to survive.”

My students had a worksheet to fill in during their trip. Check out some of them below!

Justyna, CCEB teacher

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About CCEB

We are teachers and students at the Cairns College of English and Business (CCEB). How lucky are we to work and study in the Australian Wet Tropics with the world's oldest rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef at our doorstep! We would like to share our happy posts with the world! Welcome to the CCEB space eveyone.

4 thoughts on “Meet Spud, a stinky giant

  1. I had a great time with my classmates and my teacher Justyna who was our guide in the Botanic Gardens. It was funny because after a few minutes our tour started, a stranger joined us unexpectedly 😉
    I had never seen the biggest flower but it didn’t smell of a rotten fish.
    I enjoyed the Botanic Gardens!!

  2. On Monday, it was a big surprise, that we could visit this unique flower in Cairns Botanic Gardens with our teacher Justyna and our Int. classmates. It was a quick decision due to the speed of this amazing flower’s life cycle. I saw the splendid exotic flower with my own eyes. I spent a whole afternoon in the Gardens and relaxed there with my camera. It was a lovely day, it brought me a lot of new botanical information and besides a lot of pictures :o). Than you very much, Justyna!

  3. I found all the plants are really large, especially the carnivorous ones. I saw this plant in Japan, but it is really small. When I looked inside of it , I saw some insects sunk at the bottom of the plant. I was really surprised. And then, I wanted to see the flower which opens every two years. but I am afraid I could not see it because it was partially closed . And then our botanic garden guide made me smell one plant which he was holding in his hand. I do not remember the name, but I remember strongly the smell was pungent.

  4. Wow, it’s a giant flower from what I’ve heard.
    As much as it is a rare phenomenon,
    I hope that Justyna and students all will get good luck. 🙂

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