Exotic Plant Makes First Bloom In 10 Years, Second Plant To Follow Suit

There's big news coming out of the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers this weekend as a corpse flower plant is expected to bloom. This will be the first time this corpse flower plant has bloomed during its existence. This plant is almost 10 years old. Corpse flower plants are not only known for their rare blooms, but also for their horrendous stench mimicking that of a rotting corpse.

Corpse flower plants do not bloom annually like most plants. They grow large and spend years storing energy until they have enough to fully bloom. The corpse flower plant set to bloom this weekend is upwards of 8-feet tall and originated in Sumatra. This particular corpse flower plant was nurtured by a local man, Sidney Price, in his bathroom. The heat and humidity from living in his bathroom gave the plant enough moisture and time to store its energy for its first bloom. The reason these blooms are so rare and such a big deal is because the plant can only hold its bloom for 24 to 36 hours before it collapses.

Sidney Price began to get nervous about keeping the flower in his apartment after it began to grow closer to his ceiling at an impressive 7-feet tall, he told KQED News in an interview. He was concerned that it would bloom while he was out of town and the stench of the flower would cause his neighbors to panic and call the police. So he donated the flower to the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers.

The scientific name for the corpse flower is Amorphophallus titanum, or titan arum for short. The nickname "corpse flower" comes from the smell it radiates when it's in full bloom. Scientists have concluded that the cause of this smell is due to the pollinators the plant attracts - dung beetles, flesh flies, and other insects that typically eat dead flesh. The burgundy color and the smell of rotting flesh emanated by this plant is meant to attract these specific pollinators.

This plant is no lightweight in the size nor weight department. While the plant itself can get as large as 10 to 15 feet in height, the stem can weigh as much as 100 pounds. The largest stem recorded weighed a staggering 220 pounds.

This corpse flower in San Francisco is not the only one ready to take the spotlight. Another corpse flower located 50 miles north of San Francisco is Sebastopol is expected to bloom next weekend. It has been lovingly named Audrey II after the people-eating plant in "Little Shop of Horrors."


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