Corpse flower to unleash its rotten smell at United States Botanic Garden Conservatory

Sarah Beth Hensley,

WASHINGTON – The United States Botanic Garden Conservatory is a great place to see breathtaking plants and flowers. But beginning Thursday, you can experience a plant known for its not-so-favorable fragrance.

The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), also known as the “corpse flower” or “stinky plant,” will be on display at the Botanic Garden in Southwest D.C. near the U.S. Capitol starting Thursday. The plant is about to bloom and once it does, its odor is compared to the stench of rotting flesh, according to the Botanic Garden Conservatory website.

Once the plant fully opens, it remains in bloom for 24 to 48 hours. The foul fragrance is most potent during peak bloom at night and into the early morning, according to the conservatory website. Also, the plant’s bloom generates heat, which allows the stench to travel farther.

The tropical plant does not bloom annually, and the time between flowerings can span from a few years to a few decades. The last time it bloomed at the Botanic Garden Conservatory was six years ago.

Botanic Garden Conservatory representatives say its facility is an ideal place for the pungent plant to make its home away from home since it requires very special conditions, including warm day and night temperatures and high humidity.

The Botanic Garden Conservatory is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free.

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