Romero the Corpse Flower
Turns Over a New Leaf
This summer, Pittsburgh’s pungent pal doesn’t stink, but he’s still going
to leave you breathless.
In 2013, record crowds watched a wonder of nature unfold at Phipps as “Romero,” our magnificent corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) made his first-ever bloom – and this summer, he’s turning over a new leaf.
After 10 dormant months, Romero has produced a 7-foot-tall tree-like leaf in order to collect energy for his next big bloom, and he’s taking up residence in the Tropical Forest Conservatory so you can see his amazing transformation firsthand.
So What’s Happening to Romero?
• Romero’s giant leaf is absorbing sunlight to make sugars, which he stores as energy for his next bloom
• Corpse flowers typically produce a leaf each year until they store enough energy to bloom again. The process can take 10 years or more.
• If you thought Romero transformed into a tree, you’re not alone. The light blotches on his trunk-like petiole are thought to have evolved as a survival mechanism; if the corpse flower looks like a tree, it is less likely to be trampled by animals.
Don’t Be a Stinker: Stay Connected!
Post your selfies with Romero to Twitter and Instagram with hashtag #RomeroatPhipps, and follow Romero’s continuing adventures on Twitter @RomeroatPhipps.
More Funky Facts
• The corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) is one of the largest, rarest flowers on Earth.
• It is famous for the odor it emits when blooming — a smell said to resemble rotting flesh.
• Phipps’ corpse flower is affectionately named “Romero” after celebrated filmmaker George A. Romero, whose 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead was filmed in the Pittsburgh region.
• Romero was acquired by the Conservatory in 2010
• Corpse flowers only bloom every six – 10 years, making their blooms precious to witness.
• The corpse flower is native to the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia; its western Pennsylvanian relatives include skunk cabbage and Jack in the pulpit.
• The corpse flower is the largest un-branched inflorescence (flower cluster) in the world.
• Since corpse flowers bloom so infrequently, flowering events cause great excitement across the globe.
Other Featured Exhibits & Events
- Summer Flower Show
- May 10 – Oct. 5, 2014
- Farmers at Phipps
- Wednesdays, June – October 2014
2:30 – 6:30 p.m.
- Biophilia: Pittsburgh
- Next Meeting Oct. 2, 2014
6 p.m., with networking and refreshments at 5:30 p.m.
- Party in the Tropics
- Select Fridays
Next Party Oct. 3, 2014
7 – 11 p.m.
BETA Art Tours
- First and third Saturdays, July – October 2014
Next Tour Oct. 4
11 a.m. – noon
- Fall Flower Show
- Oct. 18 – Nov. 9, 2014
- Native Plant and Sustainability Conference
- Nov. 1, 2014
8:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
William Pitt Union, University of Pittsburgh
- Garden Railroad
- Now Open
- Tropical Forest India
- Now Open