Rare, Weird and Smelly: ‘Corpse Flower' Blooms at San Diego Botanic Garden

The off-looking and smelly corpse flower bloomed at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas

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People wait years for it to happen. Then they wait in a long line just to see it.

It’s big. It’s weird. And it stinks. Bad.

“Rotten eggs,” laughed Kathy Zhang. “Stinky shoes.”

A rare corpse flower bloomed on Halloween at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas for the first time since 2018, and only the second time in its 14 years of existence.

“There’s really nothing more exciting than this in the world of horticulture. This plant is like the rock star of the horticulture world,” said the Botanic Garden’s Ari Novy.

All of the time-specific tickets sold out Monday to see the corpse flower.

“Also called the titan arum or Amorphophallus titanum, which is the largest flower in the world and also one of the stinkiest,” added Novy who couldn’t wait to describe the smell at its worst.

Amorphophallus titanum -- If you took a bunch of used baby diapers, put them in a black garbage bag with a little bit of rotten meat and some fish, and then just left it on the side of the road in Borrego for about 24 hours.”

The rare blossom only lasts two days. Thankfully, the San Diego Botanic Garden has two corpse flowers. The second is expected to bloom itself in the next three to five weeks.

Photos: Catch a Rare Glimpse of the Blooming Corpse Flower in Encinitas

Sadly, Novy said there are only about 25 places in North America capable of nurturing one of the odd flowers. He said there are fewer than a thousand left in the wild.

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