Blooms appear once every 5 to 10 years and smell like rotting flesh
CINCINNATI, OH (July 19, 2022) — The horticulture team at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has been waiting and watching the rare corpse flower that arrived three years ago from the Chicago Botanic Garden for signs that it’s ready to bloom. What they’ve seen in the past few days gives them hope that the horrible smell, described as being similar to a decaying corpse, and fantastic flower that they’ve been waiting for could be coming soon!
“We’ve all heard how bad the smell is, but it’s just one of those things that you want to experience in order to describe it in your own words,” said Cincinnati Zoo horticulturist Jerome Stenger. “And the fact that the occurrence is so rare, sometimes just blooming once in a decade, makes everyone want to see it.”
The smell only lasts 24 – 36 hours, which should be bearable even to the people who work in the Zoo’s education building where Morticia, the name that Cincinnati Zoo social followers picked for the plant, is located.
“The odor, color, and temperature, which can rise to 98 degrees, of the flower are meant to attract pollinators that are attracted to dead animals,” said Stenger. “Since the Discovery Forest greenhouse isn’t crawling with dung beetles and flesh flies, we are trying to get our hands on some pollen so we can help Morticia pollinate!”
Once the flower has bloomed and pollination is complete, the flower collapses. In addition to its unique, sporadic, and stinky blooms, the plant itself can grow to a massive 15 feet tall with leaves as big as 13 feet wide.
Visitors are welcome to come see Morticia in the Zoo’s Discovery Forest. The Zoo, and Discovery Forest, are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the Summer Adventure presented by Cincinnati/NKY Honda Dealers. Members may enter at 9 a.m. There is no additional charge to see this amazing plant.