For 10 years the New York Botanical Garden has devoted time and resources to the Amorphophallus titanum, a single towering flower that, when in bloom, smells like a rotting corpse. Today, garden guests may be able to catch a whiff of that rare stench, as the flower is expected to bloom at any moment. The rest of us can witness the fruits of the garden’s labor on its YouTube live stream. We won’t get that rotting dead body smell, but maybe that’s for the better.
According to The Hairpin, who brought our attention to this organic miracle, this will be the first corpse flower bloom at the New York Botanical Garden since 1939. For over 70 years, New York City tourists were left to get their corpse smell from actual corpses! Really makes you think.
It’s hard to tell from this video, but the flower really is quite beautiful in an Audrey II meets The Last of Us sort of way. And even the smell is appealing, at least for insects that naturally feed on or make nests in dead animals. According to Wikipedia, the chemicals released from the bloom share commonalities with limburger cheese, sweaty socks, rotting fish, and, of course, human feces. Truly, it’s a shame most of us will only be able to see the bloom.
Update: If you live in Bloomington, Indiana or Washington D.C., then you too have a chance to take in the stink of a blooming corpse flower. Both are being monitored by livestreams. A representative from the United States Botanic Garden estimates its flower will bloom sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, so my dear D.C.-based readers, consider your weekend plans made.