Alice, the corpse flower from the Botanical Gardens in Chicago bloomed unexpectedly, gathering large crowds that did not want to miss the opportunity of snapping a selfie with the smelly, yet beautiful flower.
The Botanical Garden wrote a statement on their website in which they said that the corpse flowers usually bloom unexpectedly, and that they wanted Alice to bloom before her inauguration in the Botanical Garden.
Amorphophallus titanum, also known as titan arum, is a flowering plant native to the Island of Sumatra in Indonesia, which got the name of corpse flower or corpse plant because of its foul odour of a rotting animal. The corpse flower can grow up to ten feet (3 metres) in height when fully bloomed. After it bloomed, Alice was 4 feet 7 inches (1.39 metres) tall and had a girth of 2 feet 11 inches (88.9 centimetres). After a while, the flower will become smaller.
The titan arum blooms once every ten years, and when it blooms it produces a stinky smell. New York Times associated the bad odour to garbage or to something that has been rotting for a while.
“It’s human nature that we all want to smell something bad, I guess. You know when someone smells something bad and they stuff it in your face? That’s what you get,” stated Tim Pollak, a floriculturist at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
That bad smell plays in fact an important part in the flower’s pollination, because it attracts pollinators such as carrion beetles and flies, which usually feed on dead animals and enjoy the rotten smell. These insects help with the cross-pollination of the corpse flowers, by transporting pollen from one plant to the other.
Spike, Alice’s sibling, is another corpse flower that used to live at the Botanical Garden in Chicago. Unlike Alice, Spike has yet to bloom, even though the experts expected it to do so. The corpse flower has been transferred to another greenhouse, and specialist are hopeful that the plant will bloom in the next three to five years.
About 12 thousand people went to see the corpse flower that bloomed in Denver, Colorado this summer.
Image Source: cbsistatic