Stop and Smell the Corpse Flower

By Joseph Calamia | July 23, 2010 1:12 pm

corpseflowerAt the the Houston Museum of Natural Science thousands of visitors are lining up for the smell of rotting bodies. They want a look at a five-foot-tall plant affectionately called the “corpse flower,” or more specifically, Lois. The flower will bloom for the first time in seven years and release its stench for an expected three days.

The flower, native to Indonesia, will be the 29th to bloom in the United States; another bloomed last summer at San Francisco State University. Sporting buttons that say “Bring on the Funk” and Amorphophallus titanum (Latin for AWESOME),” 4,000 to 5,000 visitors a day have been coming to the Houston museum to sniff, Reuters reports. In its pre-bloom phase, it smells a bit like rotting pumpkins–which is disappointing to museum visitors with a nose for rancid corpses, museum spokeswoman Latha Thomas told Reuters.

“They want to smell the flower. I think that’s why they keep coming back over and over because they are so excited about smelling it.”

The AP reports that not everyone is excited. Jessica Zabala has booked the museum for her wedding this week and is hoping the flower doesn’t foul up her ceremony.

The museum has provided a live webcam, for those who want to see without smelling.

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Image: Wikimedia

  • Idlewilde

    It’s amazing, the size and color of that thing…couldn’t the wedding lady just stay as far away as possible?

  • Kevin Folta

    I blogged about the wedding today. I’m a huge fan of Amorphos (had a little one bloom this morning in my yard). Jessica should get Glade and a gas mask company to sponsor her wedding. She’d get national coverage, a free wedding, and a day she’d never forget. She’d come off smelling like a rose! Turn those lemons into lemonade! This is an opportunity rather than a crisis if played right! This is a rare event, a once-in-a-lifetime thing for most people. In that way it symbolizes what the wedding day is meant to be.

  • Joanna Cake

    What a fabulous looking plant. I’m with Kevin! Jessica should use the publicity wisely…

  • Richard D. Stacy

    I think that the Latin name means more than just “awesome”.

  • Edgar Duenez-Guzman

    We got one flowering at Harvard in mid July as well. The folks at the greenhouse prepared a nice slideshow showing the flower opening and ultimately closing up again.

    The world is awesome, and truly this flower is one example!


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