New Reekie is still drawing a crowd even though it is now begining to look past its best. Today (30th June 2015) the skirt-like spathe that wraps around the central spadix is closing and begining to shrivel and fade. At any momment the entire structure could flop over as decay sets in.
Prior to first opening during the evening of Friday 26th June SRUC rigged a thermal camera to take time-lapse images to record the heating of the spadix on the first night. Titan arum is a real power plant as it literally generates heat through chemical reactions within the spadix. The purpose of this is to spread the chemicals that mimic rotting flesh far and wide in the forest so that potential pollinators are drawn to the flower. The legendary stench is really only experienced in the middle of the night on the first night when the flower opens. This always begins with the heating of the spadix in the early evening, with a temperature peak around midnight when the spadix will reach human body temperature.
The images below show in a very visual way the heating and cooling of the spadix on that first night and we are grateful to Marianne Farish of SRUC who has provided her expertise and thermal imaging camera to record this remarkable event.