What's big and rare and smells disgusting?
The Corpse Flower, an endangered Sumatran plant species with blooms that emit an odor similar to rotting flesh.
There aren't many of these babies in captivity, and they don't bloom very often -- or for very long. But there's one in bloom today, June 29, at the Marjorie McNelly Conservatory in St. Paul's Como Park.
The rarity of this event has prompted the Conservatory to extend its hours. It will be open until 9 p.m. tonight and will reopen at 7 a.m. tomorrow for those who want to have a look -- and catch a whiff.
But the stench only lasts for about a day -- two at most -- so you'll have to hurry.
This particular Corpse Flower has a nickname -- "BOB too" -- because it's the second Corpse Flower in the Conservatory's collection. The Conservatory got the plant through a Gustavus Adolphus College chemistry professor, who collected the seed in Sumatra almost 20 years ago. (Gustavus had a Corpse Flower bloom last summer.)
You can follow the Corpse Flower's progress on a gardener's blog and live web-cam at http://www.comozooconservatory.org/news/corpse-flower-will-soon-make-a-big-stink-check-out-the-webcam/
I haven't yet had the "privilege" of smelling one of these blooms -- how about you? Was it as gross as people say? What did you think it smelled like?