What's that smell? 'Corpse flower' to bloom this week at U of MN

'Corpse flower' set to bloom
The "corpse flower" is getting ready to bloom at the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus.
Courtesy of University of Minnesota

A plant famous for smelling like rotting flesh is expected to bloom for the first time in seven years this week at the University of Minnesota.

The Amorphophallus titanum (Titan Arum) — better known as the "corpse flower" — only blooms about once every three to 10 years.

Lisa Aston Philander, who oversees the conservatory at the U's College of Biological Sciences, said the flower is likely to bloom Wednesday or Thursday.

Philander said the strong odor is meant to attract pollinating insects.

"It's a thermal flower, so it heats up, and while it heats up the smell becomes more volatile, so that the smell of it can travel farther," she said.

Depending on when the plant opens, Philander said the conservatory on the St. Paul campus may have extended hours — the bloom only lasts 24 to 48 hours.

Philander said the U started growing the plant from a seed more than a decade ago. It has been growing 3 to 7 inches a day and can reach about 6 feet tall.

If you go: See the 'corpse flower'

When: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays

Where: College of Biological Sciences Conservatory, 1534 Lindig Street, St. Paul

More info: Online

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