LOS ANGELES, CA – Thousands have attended the Huntington Botanical Gardens in order to catch a rare glimpse of a blooming corpse flower.
Corpse flowers only bloom once ever few years, so displays of such rarity are widely attended. Huntington’s flower has not bloomed since 2002, and Lisa Blackburn, a spokeswoman for the gardens, said, “It might be done for the next decade.”
So what is a corpse flower? It’s official name is Amorphophallus titanum, which roughly translates to “large formless phallus”. It is one of the largest single flowers in the world – Huntington’s is 6-foot, 7-inch tall – and is only found in the wild in Sumatra, Indonesia.
When it blooms, the plant opens up to reveal the flower. The scent of the insides smells like rotting meat, which attracts carrion-eating beetles and flesh flies, which will inadvertently pollinate it. The tip even becomes human body temperature, which helps create the illusion of an actual corpse for the insects!
Check out the time-lapse video below of the last flower to bloom in the United States, at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens: