Corpse Flower Ready to Bloom

Once open, flower will produce a smell often compared to rotting flesh

A very stinky flower is getting ready to bloom — and its unique aroma is attracting visitors, rather than driving them away.

The U.S. Botanic Garden hasn't had a titan arum, or corpse flower, bloom since 2007. But when it does, it will certainly be memorable. Once fully open, the flower will produce a putrid smell, often compared to the stench of rotting flesh.

Visiting hours at the Botanic Garden's Conservatory were extended Sunday and Monday, allowing more people to catch a glimpse — and possibly a whiff — of the blooming plant.

The Conservatory will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you're on stink-watch, you can keep track of the flower's progress on the Bontanic Garden's live web cam (which, unfortunately, is not equipped with Smell-O-Vision). 

The Botanic Garden said the plant is native to the tropical rainforests of Indonesia and was first discovered in 1878. The corpse flower does not have an annual blooming cycle and requires special conditions to do bloom.

corpse flower

It's also very large, reputed to have the largest known unbranched inflorescence (AKA, cluster of flowers) in the plant kingdom.

The unique smell is most potent during the night into the early morning. It also generates heat, which carries the stench even further.

The combination of heat and smell attracts pollinators, such as dung and carrion beetles.

The odor will be short-lived, though: About 24 to 48 hours after blooming, the plant will quickly collapse.

Inset image: A corpse flower in bloom. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

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