The Houston Zoo Has a New Resident: Pewtunia the Corpse Flower

September 16, 2011

In a few days, zoo goers will be able to find the newest addition to the Houston Zoo with their noses.

Pewtunia the Corpse Flower, a plant native to Western Sumatra, is one of the newest additions to the Houston Zoo.

In The African Forest guests will discover Pewtunia the Corpse Flower – a plant native to Western Sumatra that emits a distinctive odor that serves as an attractant for pollinators.

Pewtunia’s new home is near the Koolookamba Cave along the Forest Walk in The African Forest.

“We expect Pewtunia to bloom and to begin emitting the Corpse Flower’s unmistakable and characteristic odor in seven to 10 days,” Houston Zoo Horticulture Manager Joe Williams said.

Seven years old, Pewtunia weighs 19 pounds and stands 35 inches tall, but she’s growing rapidly.  “Corpse Flowers are really amazing plants. Pewtunia added four inches in height in just one day last weekend.  By the time she blooms she’ll be between four and six feet tall,” Williams said.

The Corpse Flower, also known as Carrion Plant, Titan Arum and VoodooLily, was discovered by Italian naturalist Odoardo Beccari in 1878. It is pollinated in the wild by Carrion Beetles and Blow Flies and was once thought that elephants pollinated the plants.    

Houston Zoo horticulture experts will be on hand throughout the week to answer guests’ questions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day during informative Meet Pewtunia Talks in The African Forest.

To follow Pewtunia’s progress visit, on Twitter @HoustonZoo and on the Houston Zoo’s Facebook page at

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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