Success!!! On August 2, 2016, we finally got to see the Titan Arum in bloom in all of its fetid glory. Also known as the Corpse Flower or stinky plant, this plant, indigenous to Indonesia, gets its nickname from the putrid odor it emits when it blooms. The odor is likened to rotting flesh or meat. There is a purpose to that odor–it attracts beetles and flies which then pollinate the flower deep inside the cone. It is also called titan for a reason. This one grew to be 7’4″ tall before it collapsed. Go to the US Botanical Garden website to see the time lapse video.
Trying to see one of these bloom and emitting a stench is no easy task. People line up for blocks to get into the building. And if you don’t get there at just the right moment, it will not smell. Why do we want to smell it? Because that is the point. It is one thing to be a big plant. It is an entirely different level when it smells like a rotting corpse. You have to ask yourself, can it be that bad? The only way to find out for yourself is to be there when it smells.
We tried to see one three years ago but I was traveling and by the time I arrived, speeding like a maniac from the airport to get in line, the line was so long that it wrapped around the building and double on itself. They closed the doors just as we approached the entrance. We cried and went home. When we went back the next day, the odor was long gone.
This time we were fully prepared. I was glued to the live webcam waiting, waiting, waiting for it to open. I would yell to Matt from my office–it looks like its getting closer! Maybe tomorrow. But it delayed and delayed. When will it open damn it! And then finally, pow! The leaves opened and there it was in all its blooming glory. We went through lots of logistics and planning for us to get there and get in line. But we did it! And it stunk to high heaven! At first we could not smell it and I was concerned that we had missed it again. But we found the exact right spot where the stench was lingering. For me, it smelled like a dumpster on a hot and humid day, maybe holding a dead body, or at least rotting meat. It took a really long time to get that smell out of my olfactory nerves. But by golly, we achieved a lifetime goal. See and smell a stinky plant. Hey, life is full of these little treasures. Here it is for a close up. Gorgeous details.
This next photo is of a fountain in the botanical garden. One day, I want to have one of these.