For the first time in years, this rare corpse flower is about to open!

Illustration for article titled For the first time in years, this rare corpse flower is about to open!

It's not as cute as a snow-leopard, but this corpse flower has a webcam! Here's your chance to watch one bloom in real-time.


So-named for the putrid scent that they emit when unfurled, corpse flowers (aka Amorphophallus titanum) do not follow an annual blooming cycle, and have been known to go decades between blooms. Now, a corpse flower at the U.S. Botanic Garden is about to bloom for the first time since 2007.

Via The U.S. Botanical Gardens:

The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), also known as the corpse flower or stinky plant, is about to bloom at the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory! Once fully open, it may remain in bloom for 24 to 48 hours, and then it will collapse quickly.

The magic of the titan arum comes from its great size - it is reputed to have the largest known unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom. Referred to as the corpse flower or stinky plant, its putrid smell is most potent during peak bloom at night into the early morning. The odor is often compared to the stench of rotting flesh. The inflorescence also generates heat, which allows the stench to travel further. This combination of heat and smell efficiently attracts pollinators, such as dung and carrion beetles, from across long distances.


A little like watching paint dry, to be honest, but be sure to check back here in the days ahead for a chance to witness a once-in-a-lifetime, smelly-ass bloom!


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This one bloomed at UC Davis back in 2011. And yes, the scent is pretty awful. I'd give it a 7, where 1 is second-hand cigarette smoke, and 10 is a mummy display case that was opened after who-knows-how-long in order to change a light bulb.