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Media Advisory

"Titania the Titan" alert at UC Botanical Garden

27 July 2007

ATTENTION: Garden and feature writers and calendar editors

Contact: Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations
(510) 643-5651 kmaclay@berkeley.edu

"Titania the Titan," an endangered plant at the world-class UC Botanical Garden, is about to burst forth with its rare, signature blossom and its thankfully brief stench that has earned it and other titan arums the nickname of the "corpse plant."

Paul Licht, director of the garden, says that based on the early stages of the blossoming, the plant may be bigger than "Trudy the Titan," which stood close to 6 1/2 feet tall and in July 2005 boasted a bloom measuring 3 feet across. Trudy was loaned to the garden from an amateur horticulturalist in San Jose.

Titania is an Amorphophallus titanium grown from seeds collected in Sumatra and then planted at the garden in 1995, and is the first of that batch to bloom.

The odor is at its strongest for about 12 hours. It is emitted by the plant to attract flies and carrion beetles to assist with a brief window for possible pollination. "It really does smell like a dead body's in the room," says Licht, who was on hand when Trudy blossomed.

The bloom is forecast to occur sometime the week of July 29. Experts advise checking the UC Botanical Garden Web site for daily updates at http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/.

The garden is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $2 for children ages 2 through 12. Visitors are being allowed to remain in the garden until 6 p.m. because of Titania.

UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr., Berkeley. Directions are online at http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/visit/directions.shtml. The garden is located in Strawberry Canyon, just east of the main campus, and near the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Public transportation or carpooling is strongly advised, as parking is extremely limited.

The garden hosts approximately 12,000 different species and subspecies of plants and is one of the largest, most diverse collections in the country. Goals of the garden include academic research as well as public appreciation of biodiversity and the outdoors.