Corpse Flower About to Pop

Jun 2, 2010

The Corpse Flower in bloom

Update:  Enthusiastic crowds turned out to see the Corpse Flower over the weekend, after it began to bloom Friday afternoon at about 2 p.m.Now the bloom is closing up and will soon get down to the business of producing fruit.

The flower was at its fullest (and foulest) during the first 12 hours of its bloom, (Friday evening to Saturday morning) when it was at the peak of its fertility. After it ceases to be receptive to pollination, the Corpse Flower begins to close up its petal-like spathe, and the odor it has been emitting to lure pollinating insects begins to dissipate. Over the next 6 months, hundreds of small orange berries will begin to develop at the base of the spadix.

Smelly news from San Marino: The very rare Amorphophallus titanum, aka the Corpse Flower, is about to break into bloom at the Huntington Gardens. This is a much bigger deal than you might think — blooms have happened only three times in the last eleven years, and they last only a few days. The current flower, a native of the Sumatran rain forest, is the offspring of the Huntington’s original Corpse Flower, named Stinky. Stinky bloomed twice in its life; last year, Son of Stinky bloomed, and this new offspring — we’ll call her Daughter of Stinky — is growing fantastically, with a bloom expected sometime between June 5th and 10th.

The Latin name of the flower refers to its decidedly phallic appearance, but its everyday name refers to its stench, which has been likened to that of a dead human body. If you miss the bloom, don’t worry — you can enjoy (!) the smell at any time.

Members of the Huntington will get a first peek at the bloom when it happens, and non-members will be able to see it during (the more crowded) regular visiting hours in the day or two after it blooms, or as long as it lasts — which is rarely more than three days. So be prepared for a line, and check the site regularly for updates.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino



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