Join 3,524 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Corpse Flower Has Bloomed
May 8, 2007 6:22 AM   Subscribe

The UC Davis corpse flower bloomed yesterday: "Amorphophallus titanum, also known as Titan Arum or the Corpse Flower because of its smell, takes up to 15 years to bloom and rarely does so in cultivation...The stink is astounding." (Another stinky flower previously discussed here.)
posted by footnote (43 comments total)

 
Sweet!
posted by grobstein at 6:24 AM on May 8, 2007


Ted blooms again - This will be his third blooming since June 2003.

Is that "up to" weasel language or is that just for the first blooming?
posted by DU at 6:29 AM on May 8, 2007


We had better get used to the smell. Pollinated by carrion-eating insects, it's one flower that will survive the demise of the honey bee.
posted by three blind mice at 6:30 AM on May 8, 2007


Is it annual stinky flower day again already?
posted by miss lynnster at 6:31 AM on May 8, 2007


Interesting post, thanks heaps footnote.
posted by mattoxic at 6:32 AM on May 8, 2007


"Feed me, Seymour!"
posted by MtDewd at 6:55 AM on May 8, 2007


Amorphophallus titanum (from Ancient Greek amorphos, "without form, misshapen" + phallos, "penis", and titan, "giant")

Heh. I'm wanting to disbelieve Wikipedia here, but that sounds about right. Some things you just can't make up.
posted by Bugg at 6:58 AM on May 8, 2007


Nice webcam.
posted by NoMich at 7:01 AM on May 8, 2007


I'm heading down there right now with a giant plate of durian fruit for the full botanical smell-o-rama.
posted by kozad at 7:02 AM on May 8, 2007


The one at UConn is supposed to bloom in the next couple of days and I'm gonna try to get some friends to go. I'm working on my pitch...

"It looks like a giant penis and it smells like cannibal vomit! No, that's goooood! Come back! Call me later? Hello? Hello?! Where did everybody go?"
posted by Kattullus at 7:23 AM on May 8, 2007


The webcam is pretty cool.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:34 AM on May 8, 2007


i can't believe no one has done it and it seems de riguer by now:

metafilter: the stink is astounding.
posted by spicynuts at 7:51 AM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Webcam is worth nothing until I have this on my computer.
posted by artifarce at 8:00 AM on May 8, 2007


Man, that is one neolithic, gargantuan 'flower'. Straight out of a Chiller Theater show.

Belongs in the eating tarantulas in Cambodia group.
posted by nickyskye at 8:00 AM on May 8, 2007


A friend of mine who works at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN pointed out that they're growing one in their Greenhouse as well. All three may be open at once.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:00 AM on May 8, 2007


Speaking as a Davis person, I still don't get the "OMG EXCITEMENT !!!1111!!!!" about the stinky flower.

In other words, what misslynnster said.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:04 AM on May 8, 2007


I saw the one in Brooklyn's Botanical Gardens blooming last summer. It did indeed look like a big ol' dick. Unfortunately, I must have missed prime smelling time, as I didn't get any of the intriguingly stanky odor.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:07 AM on May 8, 2007


Maybe the wafting scent from the UC Davis stinkflower is what's causing my God-awful miserable allergies 55 miles away in Brentwood.
posted by blucevalo at 8:08 AM on May 8, 2007


As noted in another thread about the Titan Arum, I saw the one at the Botanic Gardens a few years ago. It's not that bad, really.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:27 AM on May 8, 2007


I saw one in Atlanta and had to really struggle to detect the stink.

I think at the end I just imagined it.
posted by milestogo at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2007


I love reading about this kind of thing--it's just unreal the variety of life in our natural world. Thanks.
posted by dead_ at 9:23 AM on May 8, 2007


Why did they cut a hole in it? The webcam is cool, as there's a tour on right now.
posted by GuyZero at 9:26 AM on May 8, 2007


Speaking as a Davis person, I still don't get the "OMG EXCITEMENT !!!1111!!!!" about the stinky flower.

Speaking as someone who lived four years in Davis, it makes complete sense.
posted by Mach3avelli at 9:32 AM on May 8, 2007


This thread is useless without Smell-o-Vision?
posted by serazin at 9:35 AM on May 8, 2007


Speaking as a Davis person, I still don't get the "OMG EXCITEMENT !!!1111!!!!" about the stinky flower.

Ok, remain blase. But what about the radioactive beagles and the cow with the hole in its stomach and the toad underpass and the carrot crossing guards? C'mon, you know you love it.
posted by footnote at 9:39 AM on May 8, 2007


I saw one in Atlanta and had to really struggle to detect the stink.

Ditto for me, though it was with the one that bloomed at the Botanical Garden in D.C. last year. Maybe the volume of stink varies with soil chemistry or between specimens ...
posted by ryanshepard at 9:40 AM on May 8, 2007


When George W made one of his typical bloopers yesterday implying the Queen was 200 years old and then winked at her, she looked at him like she smelled the corpse flower. Check out her face.
posted by nickyskye at 9:43 AM on May 8, 2007


Oh wow--I heard about that slipup on NPR and it sounded OK. But the look on her face--she's about to order his head removed.
posted by DU at 9:53 AM on May 8, 2007


Yeah, i saw the one in Brooklyn last year, and i also was more impressed by the penis-ness of it than the slight odor.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:05 AM on May 8, 2007


Here's a video link to a good explanation of the corpse flower that bloomed at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden last year.
posted by huckhound at 10:11 AM on May 8, 2007


I saw one in Atlanta and had to really struggle to detect the stink.

A couple of these bloomed at the University of Washington a couple years ago. A friend worked in the greenhouse and let a bunch of us in late at night a few times to check out the flowers. My friends couldn't be in the same room with it for very long. I, on the other hand, stuck my head down inside the bloom and couldn't smell a thing.
posted by msbrauer at 10:34 AM on May 8, 2007


That's interesting msbrauer, I wonder if it's like high frequency sound. I can hear the 14k hertz of a TV flyback and it makes me crazy, whereas many of my co-workers can't hear it at all. Maybe you are just less attuned to it or something.

Based on what I'm reading about the smell, that's probably a good thing.
posted by quin at 10:56 AM on May 8, 2007


So, where is the smell-O-rama?
posted by Oyéah at 11:02 AM on May 8, 2007


footnote links to a mention of the Huntington's corpse flower. I kind of wanted to go see it when I heard about it blooming in the past. This article shows pics of its poisonous fruit. Never knew the thing was so tall.
posted by PY at 11:40 AM on May 8, 2007


This seems like a reasonable place to mention The Sperm Trees of Los Angeles (scroll down a bit).
posted by SPrintF at 11:45 AM on May 8, 2007


"Ok, remain blase. But what about the radioactive beagles and the cow with the hole in its stomach and the toad underpass and the carrot crossing guards? C'mon, you know you love it."

See, those are MUCH more exciting than stinking plants!
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:11 PM on May 8, 2007


Maybe the 'some people can smell it some people can't' might be a similar phenomenon to how some people can't detect the smell of asparagus metabolites in urine...
posted by porpoise at 12:15 PM on May 8, 2007


Oh wow so not only can I not smell my stinky pee, anyone else I may live with CAN. Sorry roomie...
posted by yodelingisfun at 1:12 PM on May 8, 2007


GO AGGIE STINKFLOWERS!
posted by Eekacat at 5:34 PM on May 8, 2007


These damn things bloom all the damn time. I do not know a person who hasn't smelled one. They smell atrocious, by all accounts.

I'm as delighted as anyone with our human propensity to cultivate strange amorphophallic xenobiology, but I think we have to stop calling it "rare."

The other day I was waiting for the bus and I tripped over a blooming Amorphophallus.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:22 PM on May 8, 2007


Hey yodelingisfun - it's not your fault.

Just your parents'. =)
posted by porpoise at 9:22 PM on May 8, 2007


Metafilter: i can't believe no one has done it and it seems de riguer by now
posted by blenderfish at 10:43 PM on May 8, 2007


Next to April Fools, the annual Corpse Flower awareness campaign may be the longest-running habit on the net. I'm quite surprised it continues to thrill. No one seems to get all that excited by the annual Magnolia show.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:10 PM on May 8, 2007


« Older You could read about carnival in Trinidad, or Appa...  |  PSST! Pass It On…... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments