Fans of stench, rejoice! The corpse flower at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is about to bloom!
“People will say, ‘Do you have a dead animal in here?’ ” said Patrick J. Cullina, vice president of horticulture and facilities at the botanic garden, who has worked with similar plants of different species. The literature posted beside the harmless-looking plant describes what to expect, the “revolting smell of putrefying meat.”
The corpse flower took another dramatic turn toward blooming on Thursday afternoon, as the large, green leafs began to fold back and fall away, revealing the maroon undersides that are colored to resemble an animal. As of 3:12 p.m., a very faint odor was detected in the room, said Leeann Lavin, a spokeswoman for the garden. “Right now, there are two flies on it,” she said.
You gotta love botanists. You can follow the corpse flower’s progress on the botanic garden’s website. They’ve got a webcam and a blog following the plant’s progress.
The last time a corpse flower bloomed in New York, it was 1939, and the stench was memorable:
In 1937 and again in 1939, thousands turned out to watch bloomings in the Bronx. According to The New York Times, the odor “almost downed” newspaper reporters, and was described by an assistant curator at the botanical garden there as “a cross between ammonia fumes and hydrogen sulphide, suggestive of spoiled meat or rotting fish.” It became the official flower of the Bronx, until 2000, and it seems the bizarre specimen — why the heck does a flower smell like bad meat? — can still draw a crowd. More than 10,000 people visited a blooming corpse flower at the University of Connecticut in Storrs in 2004.
The plant will have round-the-clock babysitters to watch for signs of blooming in the dead of night. The security staff is being issued air masks.
Oh, and they don’t call it Amorphophallus titanum for nothin’.
How *you* doin’?