Talk About Timing: This Corpse Flower Opened on Halloween

The striking specimen is on view at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas.


What to Know

  • San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas
  • A Corpse Flower bloom is short-lived, lasting a day or two (give or take), so check the garden's site before visiting
  • $18 adult garden admission; the bloom is expected to conclude on Nov. 1

A DASTARDLY DOVETAILING: We like things to be a touch dastardly on the final day of October. Life is allowed to be a little spookier, and our day-to-day doings are permitted to have some drama, and if events grow a tad eeky? They're simply staying on theme. So when there's a dovetailing of occurrences that could be described as delightfully dastardly, well, call it a bit of Halloween-style magic. And that dastardful delight did indeed take place on Sunday, Oct. 31 when a real and really rare Corpse Flower finally opened up, after several days under close observation, at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. Not only did this blossom, which is famous for its nose-testing, notoriously noxious odor, finally unfurl its frilly spath on Halloween, but it all happened on Halloween night, which feels even more enchanted, in an eerie sort of way.

BUT NO MAGIC SPELLS... were cast; rather, staffers at the spacious garden tended to the flower over a number of weeks, patiently heeding to the unhurried timeline of the Amorphophallus titanium. The smelly show is expected to wrap on Nov. 1, and plenty of visitors will queue to see and sniff it, as the Corpse Flower only blooms "every four or five years." Ari Novy, president and CEO of San Diego Botanic Garden, shared the excitement: "The corpse flower is the rock star of the plant world. It is taking center stage today with its incredible bloom and stench. We couldn't be more excited for everyone to come see this amazing plant in its full glory, but hurry up! It's a short show." If you can't make it to Encinitas, following along from home, via the garden's social media posts, is one way to see (if not smell) this wonder.

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