A rare and quite extraordinary plant known as the Corpse Flower is about to blossom at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and it will provide visitors with an odor that is reportedly akin to “rotting meat.” The plant originates from the rainforests of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, and Denver’s 15-year-old specimen has never before blossomed—but once it does, it will be hard to miss, and it won’t blossom again for another decade.
The Corpse Flower, which has the scientific name of Amorphophallus Titanum, or Giant misshapen penis, is currently growing at a rate of around four inches a day. When it blossoms it will present a dark reddish-purple spadix that can reach more than 10 feet in height and will release an odor that has been described “as spoiled eggs, a soiled diaper, rotting fish, dirty laundry or even day-old roadkill.”
Which sounds altogether rather gross—but this stench has a purpose. The rotting scent attracts beetles and flesh flies which help the plant to pollinate. Additionally, the tip of the spadix, which politely put looks like a large baguette, stays at around human temperature. This temperature helps to trick flesh-eating bugs into thinking that the plant is in fact a dead animal.
The infrequent blossoms of the Corpse Flower make them an attraction at botanical gardens around the globe, but – perhaps thankfully – the bloom remains open for a maximum of just 48 hours.
As for the existence of these Corpse Flower’s in the wild, they have come to be classified as “vulnerable.” USA Today reports that there are “currently 4,914 plants classified as vulnerable, compared to 2,815 in 1998.” Furthermore, the flora of Sumatra are particularly at risk, as the island has lost almost half its rainforest in the past 35 years, with scientists citing pollution from nearby Singapore and Malaysia as the cause.
But for those that want to witness (and not smell) the blossom of Denver’s Corpse Flower, check out this YouTube live feed from KUSA Denver.
Via The Denver Post
Photos via Flickr