Amorphophallus titanum (the 'Titan Arum') may well be one of the most famous plants in the world. Unfortunately it does NOT hold the title for the largest inflorescence (a title which belongs to Puya raimondii with an inflorescence around 25ft tall), but it does hold the title for the strongest smell! In fact the smell is vital to the success of Amorphophallus flowers- it is rare to find many plants in flower at any one time in a population, and populations tend to be some distance apart, so a powerful smell is needed to attract pollinators. All well and good, but the pollinators are flies, so the 'fragrance' is of dung and rotting flesh!

So not a good garden plant! You may then be relieved to hear that this Sumatran native is not even remotely hardy, so there's no chance that your neighbours will grow one in their garden!

The 2005 flowering of A. titanum at The Eden Project in Cornwall.

If, however, you don't like your neighbours then you may well be encouraged to hear that there are hardier species which can be grown by any hardcore aroid enthusiast. Although they don't flower every year Amorphophallus have large umbrella leaves (one per plant) which can give a tropical feel to any garden. If and when mine 'do their thing' I will put up pictures and information.