Corpse Flower Is Making a Big Stink-Check out the Webcam!

A Rare Bloom of a Corpse Flower Is Happening at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory


6/29/11 UPDATE: Click Here For The Time Lapse Video!

6/29/11 UPDATE: It is time!!! BOB,too started to open yesterday afternoon starting about 3pm! Over the course of the next 5 hours, the spathe (the skirt) opened and the tell tale smell of rotten meat started to permeate the parlor! This type of plant tends to open in the mid to late afternoon and send it’s noteworthy aroma out into the world for the next 24-36 hours. When the Conservatory opens at 10am today, we will have already passed the 19 hour mark in the event. The smell at this moment is still strong but will decline as we pass the noon mark. We will stay open until 9:00PM tonight and reopen at 7:00am tomorrow morning just for you fans to view this remarkable flower! By closing time tonight, there is the possibility that the smell will have disappeared and the spathe will have started to close up and again cover the base of the spadix. This is a very short and not sweet event that is not to be missed!


6/28/11 UPDATE: This bud is still growing!! Measurements today showed that there was another height change—we are now looking at a 75″ (6’3″) inflorescence! The girth showed some growth and measured in at 42″ this morning! So this plant is still enlarging and therefore not as inclined to open that spathe right away…..but there were a number of flies buzzing around the spadix (the tall upright structure) this morning!! We have not been able to smell any telltale odors emitting from the structure at this time, but from this point on we will be checking in the Parlor often to take a whiff of the surrounding air!! We know we are close, again the question is how close. The lights are on all night so that any nocturnal events can be seen on the webcam. Hang in there! If this plant continues to progress like other Amorphophallus titanums have progressed at other botanic and public gardens, the wait will be worth it!! Stay tuned!

6/27/11 UPDATE: So, while we wait for this wonderful plant to bloom, we thought it might be of interest to answer some of the most popular questions we have been answering in the Parlor.
*Today, the height measurement is 73″—-that’s 6’1″ and a change of 2 1/2″ (not feet..) since yesterday. The measurement around the widest part of the bud was 40″ today—only an inch change in the last two days.
*The bud has not opened yet. We are hoping it will in the next few days.
*This is our 2nd plant to bloom–our first plant, BOB, bloomed in April 2008 and died shortly therafter…..
*This plant is named BOB,too and it is 18 years old. It has never bloomed to date.
*This plant was started from seed that was collected in Sumatra in 1993.
*This plant will stink a lot when it blooms—but only for 24-36 hours.
*Check out the webcam for up to the minute images!

6/26/11 UPDATE: Another cloudy day here at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory! The cool and cloudy weather has made it easier on staff to manage the environment in the Parlor where the Corpse Flower is on display. But, it seems like our Corpse Flower is just waiting for a nice,warm, sunny day to open!! Measurement today for the height is 70 1/2″ (2 1/2′ gain since yesterday!) and the girth measurement was 39 1/2″ (only 1/2″ gain since yesterday). Slowing down again??? Hard to really tell. Corpse Flowers generally tend to start opening late afternoon to early evenings. So, keep an eye on the webcam as we hope there will be a big change soon!

6/25/11 UPDATE: So, just when we thought we had this Corpse Flower all figured out….. Yesterday,with the addition of the beautiful sunlight and warmer temperatures to an already warm display area, BOB,too’s morning height measurement was 68″! That is another 4″ since yesterday! And the girth measurement was 39″. What happened to the notion that the upward growth was slowing down?? There is definitely more reddish/maroon color on the spathe and the spathe is actually starting to pull away from the spadix a little bit. Could it be that we are really just a few days from the big event? We are definitely getting closer!

6/24/11 UPDATE: Today, there seems to be some change in the way this bud is growing! Measurements of the tall spadix confirmed that there was only a 2″ change in height since yesterday—the bud is now 64″ tall. The height may not change much from this point on. The widest portion of the bud is 36 3/4″ around (yesterday, a 35″ measurement was recorded). This measurement could grow larger for a few more days. So now it is time to watch for the color changes that will occur on the spathe (what looks like the ruffled skirt). Today, there is more of the tell tale maroon color showing on the spathe and there will be more each day. This is difficult to see on the webcam. We are still waiting for those leaf like structures at the base of the bud to fall down and dry up. The first fly was observed sitting on the spadix this morning! Flies are one of the pollinators of this plant! Maybe it has a better idea when this inflorescence will open?! The sun is finally shining today so the burlap surrounding the display area will be kept moist to elevate the humidity levels—this plant loves to grow in a warm and humid environment! The brighter conditions will probably accelerate the development of the bud so…..maybe we will have our opening event early next week???? Stay tuned!

6/23/11 UPDATE: BOB,too is now 62″ (5’2″) tall!! That’s another 3″ of growth since yesterday morning. The girth at the widest point is now at 35″—it was 33″ yesterday. So it is still bulking up for a great show hopefully sometime at the beginning or middle of next week . The upcoming warmer weather may speed the blooming process along a bit faster so that there might have to be an adjustment in the anticipated opening date towards the end of the weekend. And the only smell at this time is that of wet burlap if visitors want to see the bud and not endure the stench of the open inflorescence!

6/22/11 UPDATE: Today “BOB,too” is 59″ tall and 31″ in circumference. There is a slight tinge of red on the edge of the spathe that indicates that the plant is progressing to the next level—where there will be a darkening of all the visible inflorescence parts. Still not sure of the bloom date yet….

6/21/11: An endangered, rare Sumatran plant that has been patiently waiting to bloom for 18 years is developing a flower bud and will soon send a perfume odor of rotting flesh.  The Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the Corpse Flower from the smell it emits during peak bloom, will be flowering sometime between June 26 and July 4 at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in Saint Paul, MN.

The corm started to show signs of growth in early May as the new tip began to emerge from the soil.  By May 26, the emerging shoot was 6″ tall and has been growing at a rate of one to four inches a day.

The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory obtained this plant through Gustavus Adolphus College’s Chemistry Professor Dr. Brian O’Brien from Dr. James Symon.  Dr. Symon collected the seed in Sumatra in 1993 while working with David Attenborough on filming the BBC nature documentary ‘ The Private Life of Plants’.  Gustavus had a second bloom last summer, from a corm that weighed about 150 pounds. Como’s corm weighs in at 55 pounds.  Once the flower reaches full bloom it emits an odor associated with rotting flesh for approximately 36 – 48 hours.

The Titan Arum was first discovered in 1878 by Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari.  He sent seeds to England’s Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, where the first bloom of this species in cultivation occurred in 1889.  The First U.S. bloom occurred in 1937 at the New York Botanical Gardens and less than 150 plants grown in public institutions world wide have flowered since.

The Corpse Flower is on display for visitors to see and soon smell!