When one thinks of a flower, images of beauty and sweet aromas come to mind. A blushing bouquet, fresh garden or whimsical meadow provide some of the sweetest daydreams and scent experiences.
There is one flower that happens to be the antithesis of this, the bloom of the Amorphophallus Titanium; otherwise known as the Titan Arum or the corpse flower. The reason for this formidable flower is the putrid smell of rotting flesh it gives off when it blooms.
Native only to Sumatra, Indonesia, the corpse flower can grow up to 12 feet in the wild or 6-8 feet in cultivation, and blossoming is a rare and special event. The scent of rotting meat during the flowering attracts carcass eating insects which help pollinate the plant.
The deep red color and texture of the inside of the plant paired with the warm body temperature during its peak provide disturbing yet fascinating results. The incredible spectacle lasts only 1-2 days but surely makes its presence known. It is an extremely rare occurrence, as the last time this spectacle occurred in the US was in 1939, nearly 80 years ago at the New York Botanical Garden.
This rare and potent flower takes 10 years to cultivate in order to be primed for flowering, and the Botanical Garden has tenderly cultivated one of these enormous plants, awaiting its millennial debut. The bloom is expected this weekend, Saturday and Sunday only at the New York Botanical Garden. While the event is short lived, it is sure to be a popular draw with its pungent presentation. A “corpse flower cam” constantly records any approaching developments of the flowers’ ironically beautiful bloom so that admirers can make the journey to the New York Botanical Garden to experience this putrid smelling flower in person, a true horticultural gem.