"It's like a dead animal stink"
July 17, 2008 8:53 PM   Subscribe

A corpse flower is blooming right now and you can watch. In addition to smelling like rotting flesh, the flowers are beautiful, and their scientific name means "misshapen giant penis."
posted by tits mcgee (29 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Apparently, Smith College houses an Amorphophallus
posted by Rubbstone at 8:56 PM on July 17, 2008


Previously, but still interesting.

I remember when they made a big stink about it over at Lehman College here in the Bronx.

Please don't hurt me.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:59 PM on July 17, 2008


Wow, what kismet! My giant misshapen penis smells like rotting flesh too!
posted by Eekacat at 9:12 PM on July 17, 2008


yeah, but eekacat, your giant misshapen penis smells like rotting flesh all the time. this giant misshapen penis only smells like rotting flesh once every three years.
posted by CitizenD at 9:39 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Related - Attenborough with the other 'corpse flower'.
posted by tellurian at 9:42 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The "you can watch" link goes to a page with an activex control, so non IE users may not be able to see the images.

I can't, anyway.
posted by maxwelton at 10:13 PM on July 17, 2008


Seen one. They're cool, but you want, you know, like a hobo who has been rotting under a bridge smell. Instead, there's just, like, an animal that's been dead for four months, and it just rained, so you get a hint of something sort of rotten.

A little disappointing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:15 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, these are like apology flowers that come pre-loaded!
"I'm really sorry I got you these. Oh, and about that other thing too."
posted by iamkimiam at 10:39 PM on July 17, 2008


Real-time videos of real-life are frustrating. They remind me that there, unlike on the internet, it gets dark and people go to sleep.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:45 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


their scientific name means "misshapen giant penis."

I'm going to translate Henry Miller's dollar-a-page porn 'novel' Opus Pistorum into LOLCATese and call it Titan Arum.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:16 PM on July 17, 2008


I just read that one of the UC Berkeley Corspe Flowers is also blooming this week.
posted by Large Marge at 11:41 PM on July 17, 2008


Huh.
Kind of looks like something that would suddenly make a screamy noise and then kill you.
posted by chococat at 11:50 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


On a slow news day
A corpse flower blooms.
posted by unmake at 11:57 PM on July 17, 2008


I saw one of these blooming at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington Ontario in February 2006. It was pretty awesome, reminded me a lot of Little Shop of Horrors the way the tentacles from this thing were clambering around the room.
posted by autodidact at 1:37 AM on July 18, 2008


A friend gave me a sprout a couple of months ago. It's been really easy to take care of it, and so far it's grown into a nice leafy plant about a foot tall. I never thought I'd be looking forward to filling my house with the stench of rotting corpses.
posted by fuzz at 3:18 AM on July 18, 2008


Real-time videos of real-life are frustrating. They remind me that there, unlike on the internet, it gets dark and people go to sleep.

Here's a time-lapse movie of a flower from its bloom last year in Charlotte that might keep you awake.

And here's a VR panorama view of the bloom.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:30 AM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


And here's a VR panorama view of the bloom.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:30 AM on July 18


there's something kind of "off" about that picture with the little girl smiling with her head next to a plant named "misshapen giant penis".
posted by fuzzypantalones at 5:06 AM on July 18, 2008


The popular name titan arum was invented by the broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, for his BBC TV series The Private Life of Plants, in which the flowering and pollination of the plant were filmed for the first time. Attenborough felt that constantly referring to the plant as Amorphophallus on a popular TV documentary would be inappropriate.

Yes. Let's censor nature! Let's bowdlerize the world! Let us sterilize the name of every single animal, plant, spore and bacterium until none of them remind us of sex anymore!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:18 AM on July 18, 2008


Also:

Is this a carrot in my pocket or do I have a misshapen orange penis?

First to the right answer gets a free favourite.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:19 AM on July 18, 2008


A penis at Smith? How unusual! Maybe there will be a class this fall on how phallocentrism has spread to the floral realm.
posted by hooptycritter at 5:46 AM on July 18, 2008


Quick, someone use this to make some SFW porn.
posted by fungible at 6:15 AM on July 18, 2008


We just had one of these bloom at UConn last week. My husband and kids and I went out to see it at about 10:30 at night --they kept the greenhouse open for folks to see it at its peak, and see it at its peak we did. We walked into the greenhouse and were immediately bowled over by the smell (and it was one room over from the room you walk into to enter!). I had a hanky with me to put over my nose, and I was damn grateful that I did, because I really needed it until I could get somewhat used to the stench.

I am glad we went--it's certainly something you don't see every day--but what an ugly mofo it was.
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:17 AM on July 18, 2008


Feed me, Seymour!
posted by nax at 6:23 AM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


How can I arrange for a bouquet of these to be sent to my ex-girlfriend?
posted by Daddy-O at 6:39 AM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can't you just send her a bucket of cocks?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:46 AM on July 18, 2008


For the past five years or so, nearly everyone in the more populous parts of the USA has been within driving distance of at least one blooming Amorphophallus titanum sometime in the summer.

It was not always this way.

In 1889, a single flower a bloomed at Kew Gardens outside of London, grown from seed.

In 1901,1926 and 1929 other blooms were displayed there.

In 1939, another bloom was displayed in New York. There was also a sporadic display of blooms since the 1900's, mostly in Germany and the Netherlands.

In 1996, another plant bloomed at Kew. In 1998 a plant bloomed at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida.

Then, suddenly, all hell broke loose - these things were popping up everywhere.

Not many people know why.

Much of the recent spate of blooms is because of the enthusiasm of the late James R. Symon, MD. Plants were his hobby, and he became fascinated with the study of Amorphophallus in particular. So fascinated that he made several trips to southeast Asia to collect and to study. He and Wilbert Hetterscheid assisted David Attenborough with his filming there in 1993. And he sent seed collections back to the USA in the mid-90's, which were distributed to quite a few different botanical gardens. These seeds are the source of many of the recent flowerings.

Want to grow one yourself? You'll need to live in the tropics, or at least have a 10' tall 100+sqft greenhouse handy. You could, however, grow one of this plant's smaller, hardier, no less weird, cousins.
posted by balberth at 8:38 AM on July 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Kind of looks like something that would suddenly make a screamy noise and then kill you.

Perhaps they are like the poison dart frogs of South America where they don't actually synthesize the defense themselves, but get it from the food that they eat.

Which is to say, maybe when no one is looking it does kill people and that's what everyone is smelling.

At least, this is what I'm going to suggest when I make a horror movie about these. Of course, those will be able to get up and chase people down...
posted by quin at 9:49 AM on July 18, 2008


I don't get the fascination with these things, and I live in a town with one. No, I did not go smell the stank.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:32 AM on July 18, 2008


"... so, tell me Two-Dogs-Fucking, why you so interested?"
posted by tkchrist at 3:43 PM on July 18, 2008


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