A huge flower emitting a smell comparable to an overfilled trash can on a hot summer day is attracting crowds of visitors to the U.S. Botanic Garden.
The corpse flower reached peak bloom on Tuesday and measured 8.5 feet tall, according to the U.S. Botanic Garden. It's the second corpse flower to bloom at the U.S. Botanic Garden this year. At 16, it's also the oldest of the garden's 20 corpse flowers.
The corpse flower is a humongous plant featuring a tall spike, called a spadix, that is surrounded by a flower that’s purple-red inside. Its smell is often compared to rotting flesh.
The scent is most powerful in the 12 to 24 hours after blooming as the plant tries to attract pollinators, such as flies and carrion beetles — things that may like rotting meat, said Devin Dotson, a spokesman for the garden.
The flower will be on display in the Garden Court of the Conservatory daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Up to 150,000 visitors are expected to come visit the flower — which is considered rare in the wild.
Visitors may want to double up on face masks.
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“Its putrid smell is most potent during peak bloom at night into the early morning. The odor is often compared to the stench of rotting flesh,” the botanic garden website says.
Corpse flowers bloom unpredictably, possibly every few years to more than a decade, the botanic garden says. The garden’s seen several of its corpse flowers bloom recently, including in 2021, 2020 and 2017, when three blooms grew.