On the hottest day of 2019 so far (Thursday, June 27th), the New York Botanical Garden's corpse flower started to bloom. Now you get to enjoy the extremely organic scent of biological evolution.
The NYBG has been cultivating corpse flowers—the Amorphophallus titanum—for years, but there's never any guarantee they will bloom. However, they have been lucky, with these stink plants opening up in 2016, 2018, and this year. Olfactory observers have in the past told us the corpse flower smelled like "going into a meat store" or "when you open a fridge and get bad food smell," or "not as bad as being in a back alley in New York City during the summer."
"It’s quite a strong odor, really more like rotting meat than socks or any other bad odor," Marc Hachadourian, Director of the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections at the NYBG, told us. "Of course fragrance is subjective and many people will smell other things. The chemical composition of the flower is actually similar to a number of terrible odors all mixed together from rotting fish to limburger cheese."
Here's a live feed of the corpse flower, plus the people taking selfies with it:
The flower has its distinctive smell to attract bugs which help pollinate the plant. This particular corpse flower is 12 years old, which means it's been storing up energy for that much time to bloom. (See this great diagram of its life cycle.) Now it's peak bloom time, where it will pulse its scent every few minutes.
The NYBG is keeping its Enid Haupt Conservatory open for extended hours tonight, Friday, June 28th, closing at 8 p.m. Add there will even be a "Corpse Flower Happy Hour" on the conservatory's plaza starting at 6 p.m.
Tomorrow, Saturday, June 29th, the Garden will open at 10 a.m. with extended evening viewing until 8 p.m.