It’s a Record Breaker at the Botanics!

Amorphophallus titanum

A giant plant corm, weighing the same as two full grown men, looks set to be taking the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh straight into the record books.

The corm of an Amorphophallus titanum smashed the existing world record by a whopping 36.95 kilogrammes during an official weigh-in at the Garden. The corm tipped the scales at an impressive 153.95kgs, eclipsing the current 117kgs record which is held by Bonn Botanic Gardens.

As Garden staff celebrated, senior horticulturist Steve Scott who was gifted the corm in 2003 by Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, Netherlands, said it had grown from the size of an orange to measuring 952mm wide and 426mm high with a circumference of 280cm. Steve explained: "Each year the corm has increased its size and weight by about three times. When we removed it from its pot at the end of last week we were surprised at how large it had grown and were quite confident it would set a new world record, but none of us guessed by just how much.'' To cope with the mammoth task of weighing the corm, Botanics' staff borrowed scales from Edinburgh Zoo, where 153.95kgs is the weight of an antelope or two adult chimpanzees.

Amorphophallus titanum is a plant native to Sumatra and best known for its pungent flower which smells of rotting flesh to attract pollinators such as carrion flies and beetles. The corm is now going to be stored for a couple of months before being replanted. Steve and his colleagues hope it will flower next year. If it does, it will be the first time an Amorphophallus titanum has bloomed in Scotland, so the plant could be earning yet another place in the record books.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)