Not since the last time a huge, foul-smelling plant bloomed has such excitement abounded over a huge, foul-smelling plant blooming, but the titan arum is more than just a plant, and if tales of the so-called corpse plant are to be believed, its scent is more than just a stink.
— Read more at Rare corpse plant ready to bloom -- why the stench is so thrilling a the LA Times. The plant in question is at Cornell. Hat tip to Joe!
We have one at our botanical gardens, too. Every time it blooms, crowds surge. Sometimes I think they’re all eager, on some primordial level, to smell something really bad.
I started posting about these plants a few years ago, and at the time, blooms were fairly rare. Now, the number of plants in US greenhouses has really exploded…there are too many to even post about regularly.
I think it is curiosity about something that goes so much against our usual expectations. Human beings are inherently curious about the novel, the rare, and the unexpected. We tend to think of flowers as smelling good, or at least not bad. In fact, if you asked people to name something that smells good, quite a lot of people would probably say “flowers”. A really bad-smelling flower sounds like a contradiction. I doubt that people would flock to smell, say, a sewage treatment plant, because we expect that to smell bad.
Also, it’s a darned weird looking plant, and there’s something fascinating about a HUGE flower like that that is only around for about 30 hours once every couple years.
Oooh, I wish I could smell it! I imagine it’s like Durian fruit – gross, but fascinating.
I have not smelled it, but from what I’ve heard, it’s even grosser than that. Some people have described it as the scent of rotting flesh.
I find it funny how people find the durian fruit smelly. Haha I hail from Malaysia, and we locals love the durian fruit and dont find it inoffensive smelling at all.
In Malaysia, we too have a corpse smelling plant. Its called the Rafflesia, usually found in mountains!
I am also fascinated with these plants. And you are right, it used to be a rare, but it seems I am seeing more of these postings as of late.
I had a friend once that *thought* she bought an elephant ear bulb and when it bloomed it never looked like an elephant bloom. Turns out the bins were labeled wrong and she was growing a voo doo lily.
What fun! I have grown elephant ears but not voodoo lilies.