San Diego

Stinky ‘Corpse Flower' Spreads its Fragrant Bloom at San Diego Botanic Garden

Visitors will queue up for a whiff of the flower's unbearable, mind numbing fragrance

UPDATE: San Diego Botanic Garden officials said the "corpse flower" is no longer in bloom as of Wednesday. There will be a new "corpse flower" on display starting Friday.

Visitors were drawn like bees to a rare and unusual bloom known as a "corpse flower" that reeked of rotting flesh at the San Diego Botanic Garden Tuesday.

The exotic flower, known for its putrid, intoxicating perfume, only blooms once every five to 10 years.

In Encinitas, the other-worldly plant, known as the Titan Arum, is on public display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the garden, located on 230 Quail Gardens Drive. Garden officials said there is no time to wait if you want to catch a whiff of the uniquely repulsive smell, as the flower will only emit its foul stench for a couple days.

“If there is any plant that creates a stir when in flower, it certainly is the Titan Arum,” said President and CEO Julian Duval of the garden, in a statement. “One cannot predict when it will bloom."

The pungent bloom goes through the whole bloom cycle and produces a huge flower head within a month, said Duval.

To approach the foul-smelling flower, admission tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for students, seniors and military, and $8 for children. There is no charge for children under age 2.

“It (Titus Arum bloom) changes almost hourly, so you need to see it in all its stages," said Duval. "Yes, it stinks. But it is also other-worldly beautiful.”

Due to its wicked stench, the Titan Arum is characterized as a carrion flower, according to the Botanic Garden. The plant originates in the tropical rainforests of Sumatra in western Indonesia.

Currently, the plant is on loan from California State University Fullerton (CSUF), said officials. The manager of the CSUF Biology Greenhouse Complex carried the plant down to the garden in his Volkswagen Vanagon.

The plant was grown from a seed planted back in 2007, said garden officials. Last year, there were just a couple dozen blooms worldwide, reported BBC.

Once the Dickinson Family Education Conservatory is opened in Late Spring to early Summer 2018, the Botanic Garden hopes to replicate the climate of the Sumatra rainforests. Officials said this would allow the Titan Arum to remain on display permanently.

Until then, visitors must prepare their noses and hustle down to the gardens to get one last whiff before the flower's fleeting bud blossoms and fades away.

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