A plant that looks like a specimen straight out of the 1986 film “Little Shop of Horrors” is bringing delight to visitors at the U.S. Botanic Garden today as it begins to bloom and release its famed rotten stench.
For weeks, tourists have been flocking to the U.S. Botanical Garden to take selfies with the giant plant, but today is the first time visitors will get a whiff of the corpse flower.
The Amorphoplallus titanium, or corpse flower, can grow up to 12 feet tall, and once its petals unfurl, the flower releases a scent that's been described as “rotten meat with hints of garlic” and a “steaming dumpster.”
While the odor might repulse most humans, the smell actually attracts bugs, which then serve as pollinators for the plant.
Special conditions are required for the corpse flower to bloom and visitors to have the rare olfactory experience. The plant favors the kind of hot and humid conditions found in its native Sumatra, Indonesia, and can take up to 10 years for its first bloom. After that, the plant blooms every three to four years.
The corpse flower blooming at the U.S. Botanic Garden has more than doubled in size during the past few weeks alone. On July 18, the plant was 34 inches but by Aug. 1, the stylus of the plant had reached 88 inches.
Now the corpse flower has bloomed, it will release the scent for the next 24 to 48 hours while its petals are open.
The U.S. Botanic Garden will be keeping its doors open late so those with brave enough noses can take a sniff.