Above, the plant on June 15th at 42" tall.
A local nurseryman has been growing several Amorphophallus titanum corms in his polyhouse for nearly a decade. His first flower opened yesterday. This plant in bloom has been a popular attraction at botanical gardens for decades. The flower brings in visitors who normally have no interest in plants, because it's odd looking, rare, huge, and stinks.
When not in bloom, the Amorphophallus grows a single leaf on a strong stem for each growing season. It sheds the leaf and sits dormant for about four months. The plant is native to western Sumatra rain forests and is cold-hardy only to 55F. This local plant is about 7 feet tall; heights of 20 feet have been recorded. A bloom-sized corm may weigh more than 100 lbs, while very mature corms may weigh more than double that.
The stem of the leaf and the cover (sepal?) of the flower have the same lichen-like spots. The petal-like, pleated spathe is a fresh lime green on the outside...
...and a meaty burgundy on the inside. The spadix is hollow.
The actual flowers occur at the base of the spadix in two rows: a row of female flowers and a row of male flowers. Each row is fertile at different times to avoid self-pollination, although the Huntington was able to pollinate one of its specimens as a self and obtain seeds.
So, did it stink? There was a musky odor, not overwhelming or particularly disgusting. The local flower reached only 48" tall, but it is still a younger plant. The record height for a flower is 10 feet 2.25 inches (3.1 meters).
A smaller, more cold hardy (to zone 6) species in the same genus is A. konjac.
To see one within a ten minute drive, without waiting in line among crowds of people was a delight and a real treat.