Corpse flower ends its stinky reign

2013-07-24 12:26

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington – For weeks, gawkers lined up at the US Botanic Garden, hoping to be among the lucky ones to catch the show when a giant-sized corpse flower bloomed for the first time in seven years.
Its legendary stench was part of the attraction. On Sunday afternoon, when the 2.4m Titan Arum plant finally began opening its petals, a smell almost strong enough to stop traffic lured tourists inside from the sweltering National Mall.

Since it went on display on 11 July as a 1.2m tall sprig, the corpse flower has attracted over 120 000 visitors, about one-tenth of the garden's annual number in less than two weeks

It proved to be an unexpected hit during Washington's summer tourist season. For about 48 hours, long lines of visitors tried to inch close enough to get a whiff of a terrible smell that in the natural world attracts carrion eaters like dung beetles and flies.

The Botanic Garden's Laura Condeluci said most of the smell had abated by Tuesday, but the flower had attracted so much attention, it was continuing to draw throngs.

On social media, the flower - nicknamed Mortimer - chronicled its moments of glory and celebrity visitors on a Twitter feed at @DCTitanArum.

“As of this afternoon, both @DarrellIssa and @jaredpolis will have visited me,” Mortimer tweeted on Tuesday, referring to a California Republican and a Colorado Democrat in the House of Representatives. “I have brought bipartisanship to DC. Almost time to retire.”

Mortimer bloomed on Instagram, with #corpseflower a popular hashtag. There was live streaming video (“Due to high traffic, you may experience some difficulty with the web stream,” the Botanic Garden warned).

Condeluci said the Titan Arum looks for pollinators in the evening, emitting heat and a smell of rotting flesh as the sun starts to fade. The smell, which dissipates in the daytime, generally lasts 24 to 48 hours.

“The heat helps generate the scent upward ... (so) that something up to maybe a mile away will smell it and come running,” she said by telephone.

“For us, that's fabulous, that people are excited about a plant,” she said. “We think it's spectacular to look at, and a slightly terrible smell. Even if folks can't smell it, it's really dramatic.”
Read more on:    environment

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.