Heat of Respiration

Titan Arum

Amorphophallus titanum

This tropical plant is native to Indonesia, and is grown in the University of Wisconsin Greenhouses.It depends on carrion flies for pollination, and, while flowering, exudes a smell like that of rotting meat. At the same time, it expends a great deal of energy in respiration so that the temperature of the flower stalk is considerably warmer than the surrounding air.

As you know from our lab on diffusion, one factor that effects the rate of diffusion is temperature. Hence, through its expenditure of stored energy, the plant's odor is projected faster and farther ensuring a larger group of pollinators.


The flies lay eggs which hatch, but, alas, the maggots starve to death.


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