It's about to smell like rotting meat at the U of M: Rare 'corpse flower' set to bloom


A rare "corpse flower" at the University of Minnesota is set to bloom for the first time in seven years, the university says.

The plant, called Amorphophallus titanum, is preparing to bloom, and when it does it smells like rotting meat – which is why it's nicknamed the "corpse flower."

And if you want to catch a whiff of the flower, you better move fast. The roughly 6-foot-tall plant only blooms for a few days, and then goes back to being dormant until it's ready to bloom again – which can be several years.

“Botanical gardens around the world build entire festivals around this single plant,” Conservatory Curator Lisa Aston Philander said in a news release, noting thousands of visitors show up to "inhale this awful 'carrion' smell."

Philander explains the "corpse flower" is a thermogenic plant that warms itself, which allows the odor to "volatilize" – the warmer it gets, the more stinky it is.

"And the scent changes over the estimated 48 hours that the plant is in bloom," Philander says.

You can stop by to smell the stinky flower at the U of M's College of Biological Sciences Conservatory in St. Paul starting Monday. The conservatory is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information on visiting, click here

Why does it smell?

It's all about competition.

The "corpse flower" is native to Sumatra’s equatorial rain forests, and it uses its strong smell to "cut through the riot of scents" competing for the sweat bee, which pollinates the flower.

The bees can smell the plant from miles away.

Read more about the corpse flower here.

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