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Corpse flower brings life to Gardens' social media


The fetid appeal of the Botanic Gardens’ corpse flower has proved to be a marketing boon, with the institution reporting a huge increase in its social media reach.

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More than 16,000 people queued to view – and smell – Titan Arum flowers at the Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens in December and Adelaide Botanic Gardens in February.

The huge flowers, which can grow up to three metres tall, smell briefly of rotting flesh when they bloom, which is useful to attract pollinating insects.

Colloquially known as the “Corpse Flower”, the plans take 10 years to flower from seed and the blooms only last for about two days.

The Gardens’ said today the two events had attracted huge international interest both in mainstream media and via the Gardens’ social media channels.

A timelapse video of the Mt Lofty flower had been viewed more than 2.5 million times on YouTube, while a similar timelapse of the Gardens’ flower was viewed more than 135,000 times in its first 24 hours.

The Gardens’ website has increased its traffic by 50 per cent since December.

On Facebook, the two flowerings brought plenty of new “likes”. The Gardens reports that during the second flowering, net “likes” per day increased by more than 600 per cent. Total likes grew by about a third as a result of the attention.

And there could be more international profile to come, with the Gardens working to propagate many more of the plants, which are threatened in the wild and difficult to cultivate.

Botanic Gardens horticultural curator of plant propagation, Matt Coulter, and his team have produced more than 100 Titan Arum plants, all from the original three seeds donated to the Gardens in 2006.

Environment Minister Ian Hunter said the Gardens’ work had attracted a great deal of international attention.

“The work of the Gardens’ passionate and expert staff has been key in alerting millions of people to the important scientific and conservation work being carried out in South Australia,” he said.

He said he hoped the propagation work by the Gardens would one day produce regular flowerings of Titan Arum.

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