A temperamental plant, the corpse flower usually does not bloom for the first time until the plant is anywhere between eight and twenty years old; after that, it continues to bloom infrequently.
Stinky the Corpse flower – a local nickname – has been a blockbuster attraction at the Denver Botanical Gardens this week. The giant green and purple plant blooms for less than 48 hours, and emits a scent that has been likened to rotting flesh.
By 4:30am on Wednesday, a line began forming in front of the Botanical Gardens as visitors from all over the world waited to get a glimpse and a whiff of the five-foot-tall tropical plant.
“This is the biggest single day in the gardens’ history,” spokeswoman Erin Bird said. “I think human curiousity, especially in gross things, has really helped.”
The corpse flower, formally known as titan arum, is native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Outside of Sumatra, the corpse flower lives only in botanic gardens.
A temperamental plant, the flower usually does not bloom for the first time until the plant is anywhere between eight and twenty years old; after that, it continues to bloom infrequently.
By the end of the day Wednesday, more than 12,000 people, most paying an admission fee of $12.50, had waited for up to five hours to spend a moment oggling and photographing the mysterious lifeform.
“It’s a rarity, it’s an event,” said visitor Marie Parker Leatherwood, 87. “I thought it was fantastic.”
Corpse flower mania has been building in Denver for week. Stinky is the first of its kind to bloom in the Western Rocky Mountains, and the local media stations have kept a watchful eye on the flower, with streaming video cameras waiting to capture signs of imminent budding. More than 7,000 people worldwide watched the live stream of the flower’s blooming, until the server crashed, reported a local televisions station.