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
- Fall Flower Show
- Oct. 18 – Nov. 9, 2014
- In celebration of the harvest season and its changing hues, this colorful exhibit showcases beautiful chrysanthemums, vibrant foliage and other festive flowers as tiny trains wind their way through many of the Conservatory’s display rooms.
- Wines Under Glass
- Oct. 30, 2014
6:30 – 10 p.m.
- Join masked revelers and friends for select wine, cuisine and specialty cocktails as we celebrate the success of Tropical Forest India, our gorgeous Fall Flower Show, and Phipps’ many pacesetting firsts.
- Poinsettias and Pointe Shoes
- Friday, Nov. 21, 2014
6 and 7:30 p.m.
- Kick off the holiday season with two of Pittsburgh's most treasured traditions. Don’t miss this one-night-only opportunity to enjoy the botanical delights of Phipps and vignettes from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s rendition of The Nutcracker on the very same night. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance!
- Farmers at Phipps
- Wednesdays, June – October 2014
2:30 – 6:30 p.m.
- Refresh your food shopping experience! Visit our sustainably managed front lawn to browse organic and Certified Naturally Grown fruits, vegetables and more from local farms.
- Garden Railroad
- A unique twist on the traditional Garden Railroad, this year's display takes you back in time to the California Gold Rush — complete with water features, interactive buttons for children to push, and miniature living plants.
BETA Art Tours
- First and third Saturdays, October – December 2014
Next Tour Oct. 18, 2014
11 a.m. – noon
- Discover the BETA Project, a new collection of art at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes designed to enhance and restore the bonds between people and the natural world. Tours are free for members; however, space is limited and reservations are required by the Thursday prior to each tour date. To reserve, please contact us at 412/622-6915, ext. 6505 or email@example.com.
- Halloween Happenings
- Oct. 24, 2014
4 – 8 p.m.
- When you feel a chill in the air and start to see pumpkins everywhere, you know it's almost Halloween! Bring costumed kids for a spooktacular time in the gardens as we offer a host of healthy snacks and family fun, including games and a pot-a-plant activity. All activities are free with Conservatory admission.
- Native Plant and Sustainability Conference
- Nov. 1, 2014
8:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
William Pitt Union, University of Pittsburgh
- Phipps’ annual Native Plant and Sustainability Conference brings together national experts for a one-day forum on plants, landscapes and our roles as environmental stewards. This year’s program pairs an entomologist with a landscape designer to help illuminate how a well-designed landscape can be a place of beauty while fulfilling several important ecological functions.
- Biophilia: Pittsburgh
- Next Meeting Nov. 6, 2014
6 p.m., with networking and refreshments at 5:30 p.m.
- Biophilia: Pittsburgh is the pilot chapter for a Biophilia Network of creative minds meeting monthly to discuss strengthening the bond between people and the natural world through education, discussion and action. Meetings are free to attend; advance RSVP is required. Join the conversation!
- Party in the Tropics
- Select Fridays
Next Party Nov. 7, 2014
Featuring Wigle Whiskey
7 – 11 p.m.
- Gather your friends and get ready to dine, drink and dance the night away at Phipps! Make our paradise your own as you indulge in sweet and savory morsels, taste unique cocktails, and dance to the beats of a live DJ in our Tropical Forest Conservatory. Entry is free with Conservatory admission.
- Members-Only: Peek Behind the Petals
- Nov. 8, 2014
9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
- Explore the history and future of Phipps with Executive Director Richard V. Piacentini at this edition of our members-only Peek Behind the Petals series. This event is free for members; however, space is limited and reservations are required. To reserve, please contact us at 412/622-6915, ext. 6505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Winter Light Garden
and Flower Show
- Nov. 28, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015;
Winter Light Garden open evenings 5 – 11 p.m.*
- Take a walk in our Winter Wonderland as we bring to life one of the most beloved carols of all time. With glowing evergreens, festive poinsettias, illuminated glass and our stunning outdoor Winter Light Garden, Phipps will sparkle and shine like never before this holiday season.
- *Weather permitting
- Candlelight Evenings
- Nov. 28, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015*
Extended Hours: Open until 11 p.m.
- Winter Flower Show is even more enchanting at night – a time when glowing candles light your way and live music fills the air.
- *Note: Phipps will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24 and reopen at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 26.
- Santa Visits
- Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 29 – Dec. 20, 2014, plus Nov. 28 and Dec. 1
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Bring the kids, or the entire family, to pose for a photo with Santa: It’s a perfect way to get into the spirit of the season and share a special memory with your holiday mailing list! Santa Visits are free with Phipps admission.
- Gifts and Greens Market
- Dec. 4 – 6, 2014
Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Free and open to the public, this special holiday shopping tradition at Phipps Garden Center is sure to help you find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list this season.
- Saturdays with the Sugar Plum Fairy
- Sat., Dec. 6 and 13, 2014
10:30 – 11 a.m.
- Phipps and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre are pleased to present Saturdays with the Sugar Plum Fairy, 30-minute creative movement dance classes and story time sessions with a dancer in costume. Activities are free with Conservatory admission and appropriate for comfortably-dressed children of all ages.
- Family Fun Days
- Dec. 26 – 30, 2014
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Featuring a variety of engaging educational activities, all free with the price of admission, these special days at the Conservatory are filled with adventure and fun.
- New Year's Eve Family Celebration
- Dec. 31, 2014
6 – 9 p.m.
- At this family-friendly event, featuring a variety of activities for children, we will welcome 2015 with an early countdown at 8:45 p.m. so that everyone can join in the fun.
- Tropical Forest India
- Now Open
- Explore our new exhibit showcasing one of the most botanically rich regions of the world. Highlights include an Ayurvedic healing garden, spice and tea market displays, a stunning temple facade on Special Events Hall, and more!