A Stink to Remember

Aug 19, 2014

Corpse Flower_HuntingtonIt’s the Huntington‘s 5th Amorphophallus titanum on display. See it in full bloom—if you dare—from Wednesday, August 20th through Saturday, August 23rd.

We’re speaking of the Corpse Flower, which happens to grow several inches every day. On August 14th, the Huntington measured it to be 39.5 inches high. As of August 19th, the Titan Arum had grown 3.25 inches higher.

The flower is native to the equatorial rain forests of Sumatra and is most famous for being odoriferous. The smell has been called foul, stinky, putrid, and “likened to rotting meat” (

According to Decoded Science, the “titan arum grows from a corm and takes around ten years to reach flowering maturity.” It is “made up of male and female flowers protected by a leaf-like wrapping called a spathe.” A corm is the “huge underground stem” from which the plant emerges, blooming “only when sufficient energy is accumulated” (

The Eden Project in Cornwall, U.K., reports that the titan arum flower is only open for a total of 48 hours and “attracts insect pollinators with its stench of rotting flesh.” This perennial herb, which is an inflorescence, is pollinated by carrion-eating beetles and flesh flies.

The Huntington Library, Art Collection & Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino 91108. Tel.: 626.405.2100. Hours: Weekdays (except for Tuesdays), 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission: $8-$20. For more details, visit


Huntington Titan Arum


Huntington Bot Gardens_Corpse Flower


All photos courtesy of the Huntington Library, Art Collection & Botanical Gardens.



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