The corpse flower is blooming at an Ohio State University greenhouse, and the smelly occasion is the cause for much celebration.
The titan arum, better known as the corpse flower, may not be as beautiful as a rose, but its value is found in its stench. When the rainforest flower blooms, it unleashes a smell similar to rotting flesh, making the event noteworthy and cringe-worthy. It seems as though nature is playing a cruel joke with the corpse flower, but there is a reason why it stinks. The plant is pollinated by flys who are attracted to the foul odor.
Much like the flys, people flock to the corpse flower when it blooms to get a whiff of the novelty.
The 6-foot-tall corpse flower at OSU, named Woody after legendary OSU football coach Woody Hayes, began to bloom on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. The blooming of a corpse flower is a rare and unpredictable event. Sometimes, the smelly flowers never open, and, even if the corpse flower does bloom, it may not bloom again.
The time period for a corpse flower’s bloom is also short-lived as the large flowers, native to the rainforests of Sumatra, may only open for a few days.
The Ohio State greenhouse has two other corpse plants, named Woody 2 and Jesse, and AP notes that a second titan arum could be blooming next week. The corpse flower named Woody previously bloomed on April 23, 2011, and, according to OSU, the plants can open every two to five years depending on conditions. In addition to its impressive height and smell, Woody weighed in at 49 pounds after the plant was repotted in November 2012.
To celebrate the occasion, OSU is extending the greenhouse’s hours, giving the adventurous plenty of time to “stop and smell the roses.”
Speaking to AP, OSU spokeswoman Sandi Rutkowski said the good fortune of the OSU greenhouse is due to the project’s manager, Joan Leonard. Rutkowski said, “It is luck, but it's also due in large part to Joan's incredible skills at getting things to grow, at nurturing them, sort of knowing what to do when.”
The OSU greenhouse is offering a live stream of Woody’s bloom, and you can view it here. The live stream could be perfect fodder for reaction shots of unsuspecting people taking too big of a whiff near the corpse flower. While smell-o-vision has yet to be invented, the video offers a look at one very interesting flower.