Corpse Flower in Bloom
June 28, 2018 11:27 AM   Subscribe

The corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum), a ten to fifteen-foot tall flower which requires months to years (or decades) to store up enough energy to bloom once, is now in bloom at the NY Botanical Garden. Watch the live stream here.

Learn more about carrion flowers, or watch a time-lapse of the 2016 bloom here.
posted by gemutlichkeit (14 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
live stream

Is this something I'd need to have Smell-o-Vision to understand?
posted by The Tensor at 11:33 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Eeeeeee that's super exciting! I love carrion flowers; they're using a weird pollinator and they're still making it work for them.
posted by sciatrix at 11:38 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I seem to recall a Donald Duck story, probably by Carl Barks, where they need to photograph a big flower that only flowers every, say, 100 years. But I have no luck googling it. Does anybody else remember this?

I don't think the story involves the stench of the amorphophallus.
posted by jouke at 12:20 PM on June 28, 2018


When I was in college, my university had two corpse flowers blooming at the same time. It was big news and there were lines to see them. I had a friend who'd been working in the school's botany department's greenhouse where the flowers were and she had a key. She invited a group of friends to go in late at night and check it out for ourselves. She also knew that I had a pretty bad sense of smell, and was curious what my reaction would be.

A couple of friends were so revolted by the smell that they had a hard time staying in the same section of the greenhouse. I, on the other hand, couldn't smell a thing. With no one enforcing the not-quite-velvet rope intended to hold the daytime crowds back, I decided to get as close as I could. Right next to it, I still couldn't smell it. My friend suggested I put my head inside the bloom, so I did! It was a pretty surreal experience having my head inside a flower, but I still couldn't smell it.
posted by msbrauer at 12:36 PM on June 28, 2018 [8 favorites]


That's funny. When I was a freshman in college, my university's greenhouse's Amorphophallus titanum also bloomed. It was big news on campus, and they opened up the greenhouse to allow visitors to check it out. I went every day for three or four days to see if it had bloomed yet, then missed a day because of schoolwork. I came back the following day and it had already bloomed and the flower and wilted.
posted by biogeo at 12:39 PM on June 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also, I don't think any discussion of corpse flowers is complete without pointing out that its scientific name, Amorphophallus titanum, was chosen to describe the flower. It's Latinized Greek, meaning "big shapeless penis."
posted by biogeo at 12:46 PM on June 28, 2018 [10 favorites]


Turns out a livestream of a corpse flower is not appreciably different from a still photo of a corpse flower. Huh.

Still cool though.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:04 PM on June 28, 2018 [8 favorites]


Previously .
posted by jamjam at 1:37 PM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, I don't think any discussion of corpse flowers is complete without pointing out that its scientific name, Amorphophallus titanum, was chosen to describe the flower. It's Latinized Greek, meaning "big shapeless penis."

Relatedly, the common name "titan arum" was invented by David Attenborough because he thought that was too rude to say on television.
posted by Faustian Bargain Bin at 2:00 PM on June 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


I lack the words to properly express how baffled I am by the fact that producing one ridiculously huge flower every few years appears to be a viable reproductive strategy.
posted by shponglespore at 2:17 PM on June 28, 2018 [6 favorites]


Turns out a livestream of a corpse flower is not appreciably different from a still photo of a corpse flower. Huh.


Ah, but the livestream is for watching people's reactions to the smelly weird-ass thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:21 PM on June 28, 2018


Corpse flowers are amazing - Dunedin had one flower earlier this year - we went almost daily, took heaps of photos and my wife blogged about it. A true Dr Seuss plant.
posted by unearthed at 2:26 PM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I seem to recall a Donald Duck story, probably by Carl Barks, where they need to photograph a big flower that only flowers every, say, 100 years. But I have no luck googling it. Does anybody else remember this?

Dennis the Menace, maybe?
posted by mykescipark at 3:47 PM on June 28, 2018


Chicago Botanic Garden has one on bloom watch too! (It's Alice.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:33 PM on June 28, 2018


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