Ah, flowers. The lilting scent of violets. The rich perfume of roses. Then there’s Amorphophallus titanum, a rainforest dweller native to Indonesia. “It reeks of rotting flesh and death when in bloom,” the Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City said in a statement announcing the blooming of an infamously whiffy corpse flower.
Myriad is hosting a livestream of the flower, and it’s quite a showstopper. The best part is that you can see it, but not smell it. While the flower itself is a sight to behold, it’s also fun to see all the people posing and sticking their noses into it.
The flower only lasts for up to 36 hours. According to Myriad, it’s a tradition to name the plants when they bloom. This one is called Crystal for the Crystal Bridge Conservatory at the gardens.
The flower is short-lived, but it burns brightly. In a Monday update, Myriad said it was starting to lose its trademark odor.
Humans might turn up their noses at the rancid aroma, but it has a purpose. “The stench is to attract its pollinators, carrion beetles and flies, who are tricked into visiting thinking it’s something rotting they can lay their eggs in,” the gardens said.
Myriad’s plant got its start as a seedling 8.5 years ago. Corpse flowers like to take their sweet time blooming, and that’s part of what makes the bloom so special. Well, that and the same human impulse that drives us to grab long-expired milk out of the fridge and say, “Smell this!”