The corpse flower with a 5-foot stalk in Colorado has helped Denver Botanic Gardens to attract a record number of visitors. In the next few days, the stalk with its burgundy flora will begin to rot, and it will take about 10 to 15 years for the flower to bloom again.
The corpse flower uses a smell called titan arum to lure flies and beetles to its blossom, which smells like rotting meat. The plant is blossoming for the first time at the Denver Botanic Gardens. It was received as a donation back in 2007, and is about 13 years old. On Wednesday, about 12,000 people thronged the place, and on Thursday about 3,000 people were waiting in line to smell and witness the rare blossom. Erin Bird, Gardens’ spokeswoman said new memberships also ticked up by several hundred over the two days.
“Around the first of June, we realized that it was not a new leaf emerging,” said horticulturist Aaron Sedivy.
These plants have a three flower stage — first they send up a single leaf and dies off, leaving a tuber dormant underground. Then, the plant sends up a bigger leaf or grows into a flower. Sedivy said that there is less data about corpse plants, thus determining the date of the blossom was tricky. The corpse flower, native to Indonesia lets out its rotting corpse smell at the garden‘s Orangery greenhouse.
On Tuesday, around 6 p.m., the blooming had started and it peaked by Wednesday morning. However, the blossom did not open up wide, and horticulturists are unsure about it. The bloom which lasts for 48 hours traps the insects, and its petal-like structure called spathe begins to close, to prevent insects from flying back out. Horticulturists have chosen not to pollinate the flower, but they are sending its pollen to the Chicago Botanic Garden, where another corpse plant will bloom in a few days.