Sunday, October 6, 2013

The largest, most massive, reproductive organ in the world, the inflorescence of the Talipot palm, Corypha umbraculifera

That is me under the palm, to add scale

There is a Talipot palm in the Mayaguez campus that is in bloom right now.   What makes this particular plant special is that you can look at this one from a variety of perspectives. Because it is growing just beside a hill, you can actually able to look down on it, a rare thing indeed given the height of this palm.  I was able to photograph the inflorescence, the largest of the plant kingdom, from an almost level plane.

These palms bloom only once and then die.  It can take from 30 to 80 years for a plant to reach blooming size.  Full adults of this species are enormous by palm standards and can reach up to 80 feet high with massive trunks that can be over four feet in diameter.  The branched inflorescence of this palm can, in itself, be 20 to 26 feet high.  It can produce millions of tiny flowers.  The fruits take a year to mature.  

I fully recommend making a trip to see this wonder of nature.  Visiting on weekend is highly recommened as during the week, when the students are present, finding a parking space can be an impossible dream.  The grounds of the Mayaguez Campus have a number of interesting plants that are well worth a visit, if you are really into plants you can also visit TARS, a research station that is devoted to tropical agriculture and that in next to the university.  

No comments: