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A Giant Flower that is Strange in More than One Way

Do you like flowers? What would a giant, deep red and purple flower smell like? If you knew that flower rarely bloomed and stayed open for only 48 hours, would you smell it?

I did … but I would think twice before doing it again. Disgusting!

The Scent

Corpse Flower

The Titan Arum (Scientific name: Amorphophallus titanum ), better known as the Corpse Flower, has a scent that I describe as a sweltering garbage dumpster, filled with used athlete’s sweat socks and rotten food on a sizzling summer’s day. The stink is strongest during the first 4 hours after the bloom starts to open and slowly fades over 2 days. The reason for the putrid, rotting meat stench is to attract beetles and flies for pollination.


The foul fragrance is not the only impressive thing about the Corpse Flower. The bloom heats up to about 36 degrees Celsius, at least 9 degrees higher than the surrounding area, to help disperse the scent.


On average, the bloom height is about 3 meters tall, making it one of the world's tallest flowers. That would be about the height of your mom sitting on your dad's shoulders. It also grows quickly. The blossom in these photos grew 1 foot in a twenty-four hour period.

It can take 2 to 8 years for the plant to store enough energy in the corm to produce a bloom. This isn't surprising because, when the plant is not in bloom, the underground corm produces a large, single leaf.

Despite it's short blooming period, I was lucky to experience this unique plant because they typically grow in the forests on a large Indonesian island called Sumatra. This one is obviously in a greenhouse.

It's strange. It's part of nature. It's Strange Naturally .


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