Thousands of people are heading to the New York Botanical gardens, and many more are tuning in online to watch a flower bloom. That may seem odd, especially since the flower smells of rotting flesh, but for the Amorphophallus titanium, also known as the corpse flower, it’s a rare event indeed.
As disgusting as it sounds, these flowers are special. After they’re planted they often taken 7-10 years to bloom for the first time. Subsequent blooms often take just as long, too. The plant smells so terrible because when it opens, it tries to attract as many bugs — flies, beetles, and the like — to help it pollinate other plants. The insects are attracted to the awful smell of rotting flesh because they usually lay their eggs in rancid meat. Lovely.
Because of its rarity, Botanical gardens and private collectors cultivate the plants and make events of their flowering. It’s been more than 80 years since the New York Botanical Gardens had a blooming corpse flower. It’s like the Halley’s Comet of plants that smell like death.
It takes about 48 hours for the whole process to finish, so if you’re curious you can check out the livestream from now until late Saturday night. And if you’re eager to test the fortitude of your stomach, you can go to the NYBC in the Bronx to check it out. So hurry and check out this smelly miracle of nature, with your eyes or your nose, before it’s too late. It really is an exquisite corpse flower.