Would you queue to see this foul-smelling prehistoric-looking bloom?

  • Living
  • Thursday, 18 Nov 2021

The rare Amorphophallus titanum (better known as the corpse plant) bloomed on Halloween evening, Oct 31, at the San Diego Botanic Garden for the first time since 2018 in Encinitas, California. Photo: Jarrod Valliere/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

By 12.30pm on Nov 1 (Monday), the long, snaking line of visitors outside the San Diego Botanic Garden in the United States had grown to nearly 200 people, at least one of whom admitted to driving from Texas overnight just to see the ephemeral bloom of the rare Amorphophallus titanum plant.

Only a handful of public gardens in the United States have these exotic Sumatran jungle plants that are better known as the “corpse plant”, thanks to their enormous flowers, which at peak bloom emit a putrid and pulsing odour of rotting flesh. After a month-long growth cycle, the spathe, or the petal-like sheath around the flower’s spadix (a beige, fleshy spike), began folding back around 3pm Sunday.

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