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The rare corpse flower gets its name from its scent of rotting flesh
Move over April the giraffe, there’s a new obsession involving a webcam and it’s the blooming of the rare corpse flower at the Tucson Botanical Gardens in Arizona. The corpse flower or the Amorphophallus titanum has to grow for seven to ten years before it ever blooms, and then only stays in bloom for 24 to 36 hours.
In the video, you can see the line of people who have gathered to see this unusual bloom and perhaps get a whiff of the corpse flower which carries the scent of rotting flesh, says 13 News Now.
What You Need To Know About The Corpse Flower
The actual bloom can be up to ten feet in height, and the leaf structure can reach twenty feet while growing to sixteen feet in width.
“Each year, the old leaf dies and a new one grows in its place. When the plant stem has stored enough energy, it becomes dormant for about four months. Then, the process repeats. The plant stem typically weighs around 110 pounds. The heaviest stem ever recorded was in 2006 in the Botanical Garden of Bonn, Germany, where it weighed 258 pounds.”
The actual bloom of the corpse flower comes in a number of colors, but most are in the red and purple families. The corpse flower belongs to the same family as the Calla Lily.
The corpse flower comes from western Sumatra, which is an island in southeast Asia in western Indonesia. In its native environment, the corpse flower grows in the rainforest on limestone hills. Half of the Sumatran tropical rainforest has been depleted in recent years, and many scientists are blaming pollution from Singapore and Malaysia.
After its first blooming, the corpse flower is then unpredictable, sometimes sticking to its seven to 10-year pattern, but other plants can bloom every three years at that point.
But for something so rare and beautiful, people wonder why the corpse flower smells so awful. The corpse flower smell resembles rotting meat, which attracts beetles and flesh flies that pollinate the flower.
Different botanists have described the corpse flower smell in different ways.
“The red color and texture contribute to the illusion that the corpse flower is a piece of meat. The stench has been described as spoiled eggs, a soiled diaper, rotting fish, dirty laundry or even day-old roadkill.”
But the oddest thing about the corpse flower is the direct translation of its Latin name, Amorphophallus Titanum, which literally means “misshapen giant penis.”
The Tucson Corpse Flower Has Been Named ‘Rosie’
The staff at the Tucson Botanical Gardens calls the corpse flower that is about to bloom “Rosie,” says ABC 15. After Rosie blooms, the corpse flower plant will produce a small reddish fruit which takes six months to ripen. After the fruit of the corpse flower ripens, the Tucson Botanical Gardens will remove the seeds and attempt to grow other corpse flowers. The botanical garden will also likely share the seeds with other botanical gardens across the country.
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