For the first time in seven years, this rare flower, which has the shape of a corpse and a smell similar to one, too, is going to bloom at the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory, the University of Minnesota.
The strange flower, called Amorphophallus Titanum, is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world. Due to its odor, which is like the smell of a rotting animal, the plant is characterized as a carrion flower, and is also known as the corpse flower, or corpse plant.
The ‘little star’ that is about to bloom at the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory is native to western Sumatra, where it grows in openings in rainforests on limestone hills. The plant is cultivated by botanic and private collectors around the world.
The same flower uses its strong smell and competes for the sweat bees, which are known for pollinating the flower. The bees have the ability to smell the flower from miles away.
Another interesting fact is that this rare pearl of Sumatra can get to 6 feet in height.
Lisa Aston Philander, a Conservatory Curator, informs us about the flower’s popularity around the Globe: “Botanical gardens around the world build entire festivals around this single plant. Tens of thousands of visitors show up just to inhale this awful ‘carrion’ smell.”
Regarding to what makes the corpse flower smells like rotten meat, Philander added that Amorphophallus Titanum is a thermogenic plant which warms itself. Therefore, this characteristic allows its aroma to volatilize and when the flower becomes warmer, it becomes stinkier.
And this is exactly what attracts ‘the fans’ to The University of Minnesota’s coming event, located in St. Paul.
Curious people attending this event will be able to whiff and admire closely the stinky flower. The ‘little star’ will be there to smell from Monday through Friday, between 9 am to 3:30 pm.
In a recent press report, the university staff said that the flower is expected to bloom this week. So, everyone is waiting patiently for that.
The magic thing about this flower is that it only blooms for a few days, and then goes back to being dormant until it’s ready to bloom again. This period can lead to several years. In our case, the flower last bloomed about seven years ago in 2008 at Como Park’s Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul.
A similar plant, nicknamed “Perry”, has bloomed at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, in 2013.
Image Source: kew.org