NPR
The Two-Way

You Can Watch A Rare, Stinky 'Corpse Flower' Bloom On Live Video

487262278_832690054.jpg

A "corpse flower" is seen in bloom at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. in 2013. This is a different flower than the one about to bloom in New York.
Jacquelyn Martin, AP
A "corpse flower" is seen in bloom at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. in 2013. This is a different flower than the one about to bloom in New York.

This corpse flower could be just seconds away from blooming. And you can watch it live, thanks to the New York Botanical Gardens. This way, you don't have to smell its famous, disgusting odor.

Unfamiliar with this so-called "botanical phenomenon"? The giant flower, which can grow to be 8 feet high, is better known for its smell than its beauty.

There's a reason it's called a corpse flower. Here are a few descriptions of that smell:

Behind the safety of your computer screen, you can witness the Amorphophallus titanum's show with less sensory assault. The botanical garden gives this rundown of what to expect:

"Each day of careful tending and feeding has led up to this moment: a brief yet glorious window in which the enormous plant (up to eight feet high) will unfurl, displaying the striking red interior and uncanny scent to which it owes its name. This is the first time that a blooming titan-arum has been put on display at the Garden since 1939, and this unique plant is unpredictable—it may be in flower for only one or two days."

Support comes from

According to National Geographic, the flower's terrible smell is meant to attract helpful dung beetles and flies.

"It makes them think there's rotten meat somewhere to lay their eggs, and then that helps the corpse flower to get pollinated," the greenhouse and garden director with the University of Wisconsin's botany department tells the magazine. "It smells bad to us, but it smells great to flies."

And the stream above isn't your only chance to watch a noisome bloom. You can also stream video of rival corpse flowers at the United States Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C., and on the Indiana University campus.

Happy viewing!

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.

More Stories

KNPR
Along the Way
Sep 25, 2002

The Huntington

KNPR
Desert Bloom
May 05, 2009

Flowering Plants