Don’t forget to stop and smell the… corpse flower

Johanna Oosterwyk, manager of the D.C. Smith Greenhouse, reports that the greenhouse’s Titan Arum plant, or corpse flower, is about to bloom. It’s her best guess that the bloom will start sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday, with the flower lasting between 24 and 48 hours before it collapses. It’s already starting to give off a mild odor.

Oosterwyk will post updates on the D.C. Smith Greenhouse’s Facebook Page and plans to keep the greenhouse open until 9 p.m. each evening while the plant is in bloom.

The mature flower of the Titan Arum plant is known for the repulsive smell it gives off, a scent akin to rotting meat that’s designed to attract the carrion beetles and flesh flies that typically pollinate the plant.

This will be the D.C. Smith Greenhouse plant’s second bloom. It grew from a seed collected from the UW Botany Greenhouse’s “Big Bucky” plant in 2001 and bloomed for the first time in September 2010. Since then it has been dormant, then put up a single leaf for about 18 months, and then gone dormant again until this past spring. The current bloom started to emerge in June as a small bud.

The Titan Arum is on display in the D.C. Smith Greenhouse’s conservatory, at 465 Babcock Drive. Parking is available at nearby Lot 36, at 1645 Observatory Drive.

For more information, contact greenhouse manager Johanna Oosterwyk at (608) 262-3844 or jmooster@wisc.edu.

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