Smells Like a Bloomin’ Corpse in Here!

There’s a plant that comes from Indonesia called the Amorphophallus titanum, a/k/a the Titan Arum, a/k/a the “corpse flower”. When it blooms, its flower produces an awful stench that’s been compared to rotting meat. This is designed to attract the sort of carrion insects that pollinate it. Such blooms are rare, at least in the United States, but we’re fortunate(?) in that one has bloomed right here in Western Massachusttes at Smith College in Northampton.

Naturally, we gotta go see this thing! We’re headed out this afternoon, after I get off work. The thing is, the flower usually wilts after only 48 hours, and it had already bloomed yesterday morning, so it could go at any moment. It may not still be around when we get there!

I mention this now, before we try to see it, because you too can see it, and possibly us. Smith has set up a live webcam of the flower. If you find yourself incredibly bored and/or lucky, you might see us there around 5:20ish Eastern time (or later, depending on traffic.) We’ll try to wave.

It’s a shame that Anne and Stewart and Sydney aren’t here, because this is the sort of thing they’d go for!

Enjoy this rare sight, and here is a National Geographic story talking about the flower and a blooming in Wisconsin in June of 2001. Also, this comment from Shasticon:

13:44:46 [shasticon] “Amorphophallus titanum” sounds like something from hentai.


Here’s the Titan Arum live an in person, or at least how it appeared to me, live and in person. A few people saw us observing on the webcam, which is kind of cool. But what you all want to know is this: how did it smell? The answer is…

…like nothing. Unfortunately it had already been going gently into that good night, and its noted pungent aroma had ceased. The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and the Titan Arum had burned so very very brightly. When we were outside we thought we smelled something, but it turned out those were other plants. Inside, there wasn’t an odor to be found. That in itself was disappointing, but just the sight of the plant itself in bloom was pretty rare, so we still saw something cool.


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3 Responses to Smells Like a Bloomin’ Corpse in Here!

  1. esthela says:

    I hope you get pictures because that website is totally not working for me!

  2. Anne says:

    I’m incredibly honored that you would associate us with the stench of rotting meat. If a free t-shirt was involved, we’d be on the next plane to MA! I’m disappointed to have missed the appointed meeting time via webcam, but at least I can envision your dry heaving in my mind’s eye.

  3. Dave says:

    T-shirts were $15, Anne, not free. And I’m not joking.