With corpse flower in bloom, visitors take in its beauty — and odor

WASHINGTON — Fans of the stinky corpse flower at the U.S. Botanic Garden lined up outside the conservatory to see and smell the plant.

“I like smelly things,” said Judy Hannon. “So I’ve been looking forward to actually seeing if it does smell like rotting flesh.”

The plant, which is really called a titan arum, started to bloom late Saturday night. These early risers have been keeping a close watch on the plant’s progress.

“I’ve been driving my husband crazy making him watch it on the live cam,” Hannon said with a chuckle.

Those who haven’t been here before are preparing themselves for the potential stench they’ll encounter when they enter.

“I hope it stinks worse than last time,” Scott Bassett said while waiting in line.

Bassett saw one of these plants bloom five years ago.

“I didn’t think it was as bad as what they say it is,” he said flatly.

This time, he brought his father Sage along who said he was looking forward to seeing the entire garden, though jested the plant probably smells like his son’s bedroom did when he was much younger.

While some are at the conservatory to experience the stench, others like Diane Ross say the plant is visually impressive.

“The height is supposed to be extraordinary,” stated Ross.

As for the scent, Ross is prepared.

“I think I’ll handle it. I could always pinch my nose if it’s really bad.”

Some in line called the plant gorgeous. Others also thought the plant had some positive aesthetic qualities.

“I think it’s rather beautiful,” Hannon said. “It’s sort of ugly but in a beautiful way.”

But on a late summer day, there’s no better way to spend it than with a plant dubbed the corpse flower.

“It’s a great day to smell some rotting flesh,” chuckled Hannon.

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