Giant corpse flower that smells like rotting flesh expected to bloom in Vancouver

Aug 4 2021, 10:44 am

A rare flower that produces a scent akin to rotting flesh could soon bloom and stink up Vancouver’s Bloedel Conservatory.

The Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the corpse flower, is one of the largest flowers on the planet. The Vancouver Park Board says that this year, suspense is building to see if the flower will bloom and unleash its “infamous scent.”

The corpse flower is described as being unpredictable and very rare. In most years, the tropical plant will only produce a single leaf which reaches up to 15 feet and absorbs energy from the sun.

In some years, however, such as 2018, an enormous flower spike called a spadix will emerge.

“The spathe unfolds, exposing small flowers that bloom in rings around its base that release scent molecules to signal their readiness for fertilization,” the Park Board explains in a release.

corpse flower

An image of Uncle Fester, commonly known as the corpse flower, at the Bloedel conservatory (Vancouver Park Board).

“A powerful stench, similar to rancid or rotten meat, will emit from the open spathe in order to attract pollinator insects like carrion beetles and flesh flies that feed on dead animals.”

In previous years, the Park Board has also compared the scent to rotting flesh, discarded diapers, or hot garbage. Additionally, after the initial bloom, corpse flowers can take up to a decade to bloom again, although some might bloom every two to three years.

“We are so excited to bring Uncle Fester back to Bloedel Conservatory, and can’t wait to have the public join us in experiencing the pungent scent explosion that, once smelled, is hard to forget,” said Bruce McDonald, Superintendent of Bloedel Conservatory, in a statement.

“Bets are on as to when exactly the flower will open, but based on its already-larger corm, we think this year’s bloom is going to be bigger and stinkier than ever before!”

The public is invited to visit the Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park to watch Uncle Fester grow. Tickets are available online and in designated time slots.

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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