After 10 years of waiting, the rare plant is finally set to bloom — and release a smell like literal death. When the corpse flower finally blooms, the flowers hidden in its massive outer layer release a heinous death stink that insects love. And the glorious process is being live-streamed now.
A bunch of corpse flowers in
botanical gardens across the US all
started blooming around the same
time in 2016, and nobody knows why.
The flowers take at least 10 years to
bloom from the time they’re planted,
and though there’s a theory that these
particular plants might be related, it
hasn’t been proven and the cause
remains a mystery. SourceSource 2
If you think humans jump through a lot of hoops just to reproduce, check out this plant. It waits 7-10 years, storing up starch in a giant tuber, just so it can bloom for a single day. Then it pretends to be a hunk of rotting meat to attract insect pollinators. Then, months later, it switches tactics to a produce a sweet fruit so birds will disperse it’s seeds.
If you have never smelled a titan arum but for some odd reason you would like to … you are in … luck? Scientists have identified the exact malodorous chemicals that come off these strange flowers to attract pollinators - so you can create the scent at home!*
*please, for your own sake, don’t try this at home.
“The Huntington, a wonderful destination here in Los Angeles, has posted GIFs of the rare Corpse Flower blossoming. If you’re in Southern California, you gotta see it in person. The plant’s latin name, Amorphophallus titanum comes from Ancient Greek amorphos, "without form, misshapen” + phallos, “phallus”, and titan, “giant.”
Rafflesia arnoldii is the world’s largest flower, with a diameter of around one meter and weighing up to ten kilograms. The flower is very rare and not easy to locate, growing only once a year, for five days. It grows in the rain forests of Asia and the Philippines. The flower is nicknamed “meat flower” and “corpse flower” due to the fact that it looks, and smells, like rotting flesh.
My college’s greenhouse has a Corpse Flower that should be blooming for the first time soon! It grew 8" over night (making it about 4 feet tall), so they invited people to come look at it before it does bloom and makes the whole place smell like dead things.
The trademark aroma of the titan arum - a.k.a. “corpse flower” is its nauseating stench likened to rotting flesh.
The tall, 5 foot, conical central stalk of the bloom, called the spadix, generates a tremendous amount of heat that propels oils called putrecines and cadavarines into the air. When the bloom opens, its ribbed, petal-like leaves resemble an upturned fluted bell with a rich maroon interior. The blooms can be as much as 5 feet in diameter and can occur every two years. The bloom usually lasts only 72 hours before collapsing.
But it’s the plant’s putrid odor - strongest at night - that is as striking as its size. The stinky blossom attracts pollinators, insects such as flies and carrion beetles that normally feed on dead animals.
Be glad tumblr isn’t scratch & sniff (yet?)—one of our Amorphophallus titanum specimens (aka corpse flower, stinky plant, titan arum) is getting ready to bloom! We’ll be posting daily pics on our instagram and website, sending out updates via twitter, and rounding out the fun with some goodies here on tumblr. Best guess right now is that it’ll bloom sometime this coming week. It’s on view in the Conservatory now through the big stink.
caption: Image from volume 117 (January 1891) of Curtis’ Botanical Magazine, in The Huntington’s holdings. GIFed by The Huntington.
8/27 update: It bloomed, it smelled weird, it closed up. Be sure to check out the rest of our posts featuring all sorts of photos and timelapse gifs of the process. It was way cool.
It may look beautiful but it certainly doesn’t smell it. Aptly named, the “corpse flower” grows in the rain forests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and releases a horrendous odour. The odour attracts insects which feed on deceased animals and lay their eggs in rotting meat. The plant requires 7-10 years of growth before eventually blooming for the first time. The odour is said to smell like a combination of limburger cheese, rotting fish, sweaty socks, human faeces, and a sweet floral scent.
The Rafflesia arnoldii is the largest individual flower on earth. Spanning a diameter of 3 foot (1 meter) and weighing about 11 kg it lives as a parasite on the Tetrastigma vine which is found primarily in undisturbed forests. This vascular plant actually lacks chlorophyll, stems, leaves and even roots! It grows as thread-like strands of tissue embedded within the hosts cells where it obtains nutrients and water. It is only visible when it is about to reproduce.
Its nicknamed the corpse flower as it produces a disgusting odor that resembles decaying flesh, this is to attract flies and insects which pollinate the rare plant.
Look Familiar? Its also the inspiration behind the pokemon Gloom and its evolution Vileplume(if it wasn’t cool enough!)
Have you heard? Our friends over at the New York Botanical Garden have a corpse flower that is about to bloom!
The corpse flower rarely blooms, but when it does, the sight—and smell—can be utterly breathtaking. The scent is a powerful perfume that resembles the stench of rotting flesh. To some insects, it’s a seductive scent, one that lures potential pollinators toward the female parts of the flower where they can pick up pollen and carry it off to fertilize other flowers.