Corpse flower in Denver brings in crowds to experience smell

World Today

Its name is guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows – corpse flower.

It’s a plant that for brief periods of its lifetime gives off a powerful odor, like that of rotting flesh.

That stinky smell, curiously, has made it a big attraction at botanical gardens around the world.

CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy has more.

Folks lined up early for a special attraction at the Denver Botanic Gardens. It wasn’t a rare work of art or a treasured piece of sculpture they were here to see. It was a flower. An unusual flower.

People came to enjoy if that’s the right word, Stinky, a corpse flower whose distinctive smell sets it apart from all the other plants that live in places like these. It turns out it reeks for a reason.

“The purpose is to attract pollinators like flies and beetles,” Nicholas Giaquinto, a Denver Botanic Gardens horticulturist, said.

Those insect pollinators typically feast on dead flesh. The plant, whose official name is amorphophallus titanum, is one of the largest flowering structures in the world. Native to the rainforests of Sumatra, it blooms every three to 15 years. Only then for a period of 24 to 48 hours does it unleash its unique aroma.

Two years ago, another corpse flower, Little Stinker, drew huge crowds in Denver with a relatively modest stench. Stinky, which last bloomed three years ago and grew to more than one meter tall this time, brought its “A” game. Corpse flowers are most pungent in the morning.

For 10,000 visitors who paid upwards of $12 to get in, it was selfie heaven. A little more than two days after it began blooming, Stinky had collapsed. It’s sitting in the corner of a greenhouse now. Its work is done.