WASHINGTON - The Corpse Flower is blooming at D.C.'s United States Botanic Garden-- and there are plenty of people who are willing to hold their noses and check it out.
The corpse flower's official name is Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan Arum for short. It is known to many people as the stinky plant-- and the reason why is an obvious one. It smells. A lot.
Specifically, it smells like rotting flesh. The smell travels further because it also generates heat. The combination of heat and smell attracts pollinators like carrion beetles and flies from long distances, according to the Botanic Garden's website.
The titan arum doesn't bloom annually-- instead, it only blooms when it has built up enough energy, which is stored in its huge underground stem called a corm. Its flowering time can range from once every few years, to more than a decade. According to the Botanic Garden, it requires special conditions which include warm day and night temperatures (check) and high humidity (check). So at least something is loving our current summer conditions.
This marks the first bloom for this particular corpse flower, which is six years old. It's been on display to the public since July 22, and at that time, it was around 3.5 feet tall. It began opening early Tuesday morning.
As a result, the Conservatory will be open late-- until 11 p.m.-- on Tuesday night for those who want to check it out.
The corpse flower is native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia and first became known to science in 1978. The last time a corpse flower bloom was displayed at the U.S. Botanic Garden was in 2013. More than 130,000 people made the trip to see it in person. The Botanic Garden has also displayed blooming titan arums in 2003, 2005 and 2007, and 2010.
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Get more info here: https://www.usbg.gov/corpseflower