Costa Rica Stinking Flower – Sapranthus palanga


Does this flower’s appearance give the impression of a smell of decomposing flesh?

Many flowers have colorful petals and sweet smelling fragrances to attract carriers. These flowers typically attract humans and insects alike with their enchanting beauty and luscious fragrance, some rather stinking flowers entice flesh and fecal-smelling blooms. Take the gorgeous Sapranthus palanga as an example.

Sapranthus palanga is a Costa Rican tree that bears cauliflorous blossoms on the main trunk, and is a genus of flowering woody plants in the family Annonaceae that produces flowers which are pollinated by FLIES! The flowers are purplish-black when mature and have a distinctly fetid odor resembling a rotting carcass. This species was recently separated from Sapranthus violaceus, on the basis of cauliflorous (flowers emerging from the side of stem instead of shoots). The odor emitted from this flower is strong and fetid, resembling that which would come from a decaying animal.

Plants smelling of rotten meat do not contain animal flesh or feces. The flowers produce compounds, usually amines, mimicking the smell of dead animals. The plants manufacture two proteins, ornithine and lysine, that are structurally modified, producing stinky amines such as putrescine and cadaverine.

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2 Responses to Costa Rica Stinking Flower – Sapranthus palanga

  1. akamonsoon says:

    Ewww. Guess no one in Costa Rica has these in their gardens, huh? 😉

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