Where Science Meets Muse

How Would You Heighten The Experience of a Blooming Corpse Flower? (UPDATE!)

Posted by Plish on August 26, 2015

I share this little tidbit because it’s a rare event that will be unfolding before your eyes in the next couple of days at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  And when it unfolds, it’ll be a sight to behold and a stench to remember!

The Titan Arum, or Corpse Flower, a rare Sumatran plant, will be blooming in what could be less than 24 hours.

I’ve made a couple of visits already and am excitedly waiting for it to unfurl.

This event has gotten me thinking about how else might an event like this be remembered?  We can always take pictures, but they won’t do justice to the whole experience of the flower.  What else could be done to create more buzz and more memories around an event like this? How else might you educate?

I think scratch and sniff cards would be a cool souvenir 😉   What would you do?

Here’s the  live feed archive of the livefeed so you can see it in real time!


Click HERE to see a great summary page that the Garden put together, as well as this page that has some cool pics.

I was able to check Spike out the day before they moved it out of the limelight.  It’s a pretty amazing plant!



6 Responses to “How Would You Heighten The Experience of a Blooming Corpse Flower? (UPDATE!)”

  1. I was going to say scratch and sniff. But maybe some scented face masks would make a nicer gift for when it blooms so you can experience it on your terms and hide from it to enjoy the rest of the garden. I’ve never smelled one before so I’ll be keeping an eye out for a full report. grossly intrigued.

  2. Plish said

    Hi James!
    Thanks for commenting.
    Great idea!! I like the aspect about “experience it on your own terms.”
    The plant is taking longer to bloom than they expected. A couple of days ago when I last went, I noticed that they are using ultra bright white LED’s to light the plant for the webcam at night. Haven’t looked to see what wavelengths are prominent with those lights, but I speculated that they might be messing with the plant’s timing. Interestingly enough, that night, they shut off the lights over night, as they did last night. So, my theory might be right 🙂
    PS. Both my wife and I did think we smelled a little something and there was a fly buzzing around the plant and interested in it. Usually the plant pops within 16 hours or so of first starting to stink, leading me to predict it would pop two nights ago or yesterday. Alas….

  3. Perhaps it is shy. As most things. They like to act when no one is looking.

  4. Plish said

    Hi James! Unfortunately, Spike decided not to bloom so they, in effect, circumcised the spathe and are attempting to hand pollinate the plant. It will go back into its blooming cycle and be ready to go in 3-5 years. There are others at the Garden that are very close to blooming, so new ones will be on display when that happens. Until then, we’ll have to settle for small scale analogs of what the plant smelled like (Although I still maintain that I was able to smell the plant’s telltale odor.) You can see the final report video here. Be well!

  5. Good ol’ hand pollination. Just like high school. It was cool to see that quick shot of the cone.

    My sago palm (cycad) is begin to form her massive flower. I’ll post a few shots of it. Once hers opens up, it’s time for some serious deflowering. It’s way to toxic to the animals, as well as children.

    Check out her surgery that she undergoes every year…


    Needless to say, I can appreciate what these botanists had to do here. I love my sago, but I must treat her roughly.

    Cheers, and thanks for the follow! I look forward to a great exchange of fascinating stuff!

  6. Plish said

    Thanks for the sago story – great stuff!!!
    I likewise look forward to future exchanges!

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