Rare penis plants stand tall at Leiden botanical garden

The two plants on show. Photo: Hortus Leiden via Facebook
The two plants on show. Photo: Hortus Leiden via Facebook

Leiden University’s botanical garden has the Dutch premiere of not one but two rare ‘penis plants’ in bloom, with the largest of the Amorphophallus gigas standing proud at over three metres tall.

There are three species of penis plants, all three of which have now bloomed at the Leiden Hortus.

In October last year, Leiden hit international headlines when the Amorphophallus decus-silvae bloomed in Europe for the first time in over 20 years, while last summer two specimens of the Amorphophallus titanum were in stiff competition, blooming at the same time.

The credit for the burgeoning penis plants is down to garden volunteer Rudmer Postma, who, the botanical garden said, is ‘knowlegable about soil compounds, and when to re-pot the plants. He is also an expert on the type of compost the plants need to stimulate growth,’ the garden said.

The botanical garden, which dates from 1590 and is the oldest in the country, will be open all week to give as many visitors as possible a peep at the penis plants. The plants give off a terrible stench of decaying flesh, so masks are advised.

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