After a week of anxious waiting and breathless anticipation, the New York Botanical Garden's Amorphophallus titanum—the CORPSE FLOWER—is finally blooming for you to see and smell, but only another 24 hours, give or take.
The NYBG had been cultivating eight Amorphophallus titanum plants, and last week, one sprouted a spike that flowers (most years, it's just a plant with leaves). Marc Hachadourian, Director of the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections at The New York Botanical Garden, told us, "It’s a real botanical oddity that most people don’t even know exists much less have an opportunity to see one in person. The plant has a bit of a legendary status in the botanical and horticultural community because of it being one of the largest flowers in the world and for a long time being a rarity in cultivation. Of course after 9 years of care in our greenhouses finally getting the plant to bloom is a celebration of our patience as much as horticultural skill."
The corpse flower started blooming around 4 p.m. yesterday, and has a brief (only up to 36 hours) window of powerful stench before it wilts. Photograph Sai Mokhtari visited the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory for a glimpse last night and said it barely smelled when she first got there, but by the time she left, "The smell was really starting to become more intense —especially when you got close to the flower. Like rotting overcooked cabbage."
One admirer was Facetiming a friend to show him the flower, she added he "had taken the week off from work so that he would be available in case the flower started to bloom."
Another visitor to the NYBG was a construction worker, who said he came straight to the Bronx from his lower Manhattan construction site. "He figured he could forgo the post-work shower by standing next to the stink flower," Mokhtari notes. "He went straight for the flower and sat in front of it for three hours until they kicked him out, and he's hoping rain will cancel work tomorrow so he can come back."
We'll have more about the flower later. But if you can head to the NYBG today, there are extended hours today, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., just for Stinky.