Corpse Flowers Bloom at the U.S. Botanical Garden

The U.S. Botanic Garden is currently home to three Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum) plants. For the first time in the United States, all three plants are blooming within a week of each other. Two of the plants bloomed earlier this week, while the third is anticipated to bloom in the next 24 – 72 hours.

The corpse flower is known for its massive size and its exquisite, unbranched inflorescence. When it blooms, the flower emits a fetid odor that has been compared to the stench of rotting flesh (hence it’s unsettling name). Even eerier, the inflorescence also generates heat, which magnifies the scent and allows it travel further. This nightmarish scenario is completely self-serving; the putrid scent attracts a bevy of pollinators including dung beetles and flesh flies.

The plant maintains an erratic bloom schedule as well. The schedule is based on the amount of energy the plant has accumulated, eradicating any chance of predicting the time that it will flower. And stink.  The corpse flower can take years or even decades to fully bloom.

To keep up on the blooming process you can watch the Botanic Garden’s live stream.

Image of all 3 corpse flowers. Photo take by USBG.

The 3 corpse flowers at the US Botanical Garden. Photo by USBG.