I have been hearing about the wonders of the “Corpse Flower” (Amorphophallus titanum) for years, but never had a chance to experience it until last night. My friend Diane posted on her Facebook wall that she was going that night to catch the extremely rare Corpse Flower blooming event at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers and invited people to come. I dropped everything and biked over.
It was quite the spectacle at the Conservatory, as crowds clamored to get a glimpse and a whiff of the notoriously smelly flower.
Horticulturalists provided on-going commentary and answered questions all night. Endless selfies were taken. It was a happy and diverse crowd of flower nerds.
And yes, it is INCREDIBLY putrid smelling. If you have ever been around a large recently deceased animal that has been rotting in the sun for a while, that is basically what it smells like. Isn’t Nature amazing?
Fun Corpse Flower Facts:
- The Corpse Flower only blooms after 7-10 years of growth in captivity.
- The bloom only lasts around a day.
- What is thought of as the “flower” is actually the container for many, many tiny flowers — an outer ring of male flowers and an inner ring of female flowers.
- The name translates from Ancient Greek as “giant misshapen penis.”
- The incredible stench mimics a rotting carcass in order to attract beetles and flies, that help pollinate the flowers.
- The Corpse Flower heats itself up to around human body temperature, perhaps to better simulate a recently deceased animal.