Are snowdrops thermogenic?

Mary Sue Ittner
Tue, 08 Feb 2011 07:17:58 PST

Jon Suzuki's message  to our list was held since it included an 
attachment, a paper with the title:
The Corpse Flower: A Thermographer's Perspective
Steve Mirowski Steven Kramer Advantage Infrared

It looks like an interesting paper. I found this summary by searching:
The Amorphophallus Titanum, Titan Arum (the Corpse Flower) is a rare 
specimen with limited physical access that experiences metabolic heat 
generation. These elements make this an enticing investigation to a 
thermographer. The Corpse Flower is a unique life form with an air of 
mystification, and questions remain regarding its thermal functions 
and their purpose. The approach this paper takes is strictly from a 
thermographer's perspective, utilizing limited interdisciplinary 
knowledge of botany and entomology. The results of our investigation 
confirm that the plant generates heat both at the tip of the spadix 
and inside at the base where the spathe and spadix intersect. The 
latter indicates further confirmation of the common hypothesis that 
the plant intentionally smells like a rotting flesh in order to 
attract bugs for pollination. However, the former is not consistent 
with this hypothesis. The tip of the spadix is not the source of the 
pollen and is not likely to aid in propagating the stench any 
further. However, it may indicate the possibility that some of the 
symbiotic insects, in which the plant relies, actually see in 
infrared. As can be seen in the thermal images, the tip of the spadix 
would act like a visual beacon for locating the source of what the 
insect smells. This kind of investigation could lead to a better 
understanding of ecological interconnectivity and the potential for 
increased opportunities within the realm of scientific investigation.

If someone has a link to the whole paper, please let us know. 
Otherwise you could email Jon (PRIVATELY please) and ask for a copy. 
I don't think we could add this to the wiki to download from there 
unless we had permission from the author. Message from Jon below.

Mary Sue

From: Jon Suzuki <>

Dear Carolyn and Arnold,

I also am interested in thermogenesis.  I had a person from an 
infrared camera try to detect heat differences on tropical 
aroids.  The particular ones I had tested did not show heat 
differences, but even plants that do produce heat usually produce it 
during a particular developmental time period.  I was really 
interested in the heat produced by lotus blossoms.

Keep on it and I think you might find something interesting.

Someone sent me this on the "corpse flower" an example of the 
decaying meat flower per Arnold.



More information about the pbs mailing list