The famous corpse flower will bloom after years of waiting at the Minnesota University. People have been waiting for this event for seven whole years.
Corpse flowers were initially named “Amorphophallus titanium”, which means “misshapen giant phallus”. You can thus understand Sir David Attenborough’s concern with the term when he had to include a presentation of the species in the “Private Life of Plants” documentary. As a result, the inappropriate term was changed to “titan arum”.
The unique flower features a single spike inflorescence, the largest in whole wide world, as well as a huge leaf named spathe. Other flowers like cuckoo pints and calla lilies have them too, but not at this incredible size. The leaf of the corpse flower which looks like a palm tree leaf can reach twenty feet in height and can last for about a year.
However, its particularity lies in the powerful and unpleasant smell it emits. Those brave enough to approach the corpse flower and smell it will be greeted by an odor quite similar to the one of spoiled fish. Along with the red color of the spadix, the odor stands as the origin of the name of the flower.
Furthermore, it seems that when the corpse flower blooms, the inflorescence reaches a high temperature, equivalent to the one we humans have in our bodies. This thermogenic property makes the corpse smell spread more easily. As a result, necrophagous insects such as sweat bees, flesh flies and burying beetles are all drawn to the flower and thus assist it during the pollination process.
The corpse flowers can usually be found in rainforests in the west of Sumatra. However, because of their uniqueness they have been added to many botanical collections around the world. They are even considered extremely valuable by eccentric plant collectors.
Going back to Minnesota University, the flower there has last bloomed about eight years ago in 2008, when it was living at the Como Park, in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. At the moment, the plant is housed at the CBS, College of Biological Sciences Conservatory at the previously mentioned university.
The famous corpse flower will bloom after years of waiting, and those of you who wish to see it with your own eyes and smell the particular scent, you can visit the plant between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The public exhibition has been opened last Monday. You will have to be on spot to see it in bloom though, because the process lasts only for one or two days.
Image Source: LiveScience