The New York Botanical Garden‘s famously stinky “corpse flower” is now in bloom! The Amorphophallus titanum‘s rare opening marks the first time a corpse flower has bloomed at the NYBG in 80 years. If you’re keen on smelling the plant’s unique stench, hurry over to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory today as peak bloom typically only lasts 24–36 hours.
Even people who don’t give a rat’s tail about botanicals tend to get excited about real life plants that are straight out of science fiction, and the corpse flower definitely fits that bill. The Amorphophallus titanum plant (also known sometimes as titan-arum) is native to Indonesia and one first opened in the Western hemisphere in 1937. The second bloomed at the NYBG in 1939, and none have been on display during their bloom since then. The bloom lasts just 24 to 36 hours, and the awful stink that comes with it seems like a defensive tactic, but that’s actually not the case. The flower emits the aroma of rotting meat to attract the sort of pollinators that happen to enjoy stinky, dead animals.
The ominous flower towers over most humans, ranging between 6 to 8 feet tall (while wild versions can grow to be a staggering 12 feet tall). The flower’s life cycle includes a period of up to 10 years in which the plant stores the energy required to push open its purplish petals, and this particular corpse flower plant was acquired by the garden in 2007.
If you can’t make it to the NYBG in person, check out the live streaming “Corpse Flower Cam” to catch a glimpse of the flower in bloom from the comfort of your own, hopefully non-stinky home.