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'Corpse flower' could bloom any minute with 'rotting meat' stench

corpse flower to bloom any day
Posted at 10:00 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 23:23:15-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — One after another, visitors to Austin Peay State University's greenhouse arrived, hoping to smell something stinky.

Nestled inside sits Amorphophallus titanum — also known as the "Corpse Flower."

The plant earns its name for good reason.

"It smells like a dead corpse," said Carol Baskauf, botanist and APSU professor.

Well, not yet, mind you; the flower hasn't bloomed yet. But Baskauf said it's close. The imminent bloom and accompanying stench could happen any day.

The bloom only lasts for a day and a half at most, which has prompted visitor after visitor to check on its progress.

The flower is meant to smell bad once it blooms. The smell tricks bugs into thinking it's a carcass in which they can lay their eggs.

Those bugs pick up the flower's pollen, which they unknowingly spread elsewhere.

Corpse flowers are native to Sumatra, Indonesia, and bloom for the first time after the first 8-10 years of their lives. Once a plant blooms, it may bloom again in as little as two or three years.

A 2010 scientific study found that the corpse flower smells like a combination of cheese, sweat, garlic, decomposing meat, feces and rotting fish.

Interested visitors can stop in to see this Corpse Flower, named Zeus, from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. this week at Austin Peay's Sundquist Science Complex greenhouse, located on the first floor at the end of hallway "A."

Fans are also welcome to check out the plant's livestream on the university's Department of Biology webpage.