Saturday: If putrid flowers are your thing ... Bob's now on display

  • Updated: April 9, 2008 - 10:48 AM

A corpse flower nicknamed Bob will be stinking up the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul next week.

The endangered rare Sumatran plant, which blooms about every 15 years, is showing a flower bud and may soon emit an odor of rotting flesh, said Michelle Furrer, a spokeswoman for the conservatory in Como Park.

Strangely enough, the odor attracts horticulture enthusiasts wanting to witness the rare occurrence. More than 7,000 people went to Gustavus Adolphus College to see (and smell) the blooming of a corpse flower nicknamed Perry, Furrer said.

The corpse flower, or titan arum, was discovered in 1878 by Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari. The first U.S. bloom was in 1937 at the New York Botanical Gardens. Through 2007, only 122 plants are known to have bloomed worldwide.

Horticulturists at the Como Park conservatory have moved Bob from the greenhouse into public space for visitors to see and smell. The conservatory started a gardener blog and a webcam on Como's website for people to watch the bloom's progress: www.comozooconservatory. org/cons/gardenblog.shtml.

Bob's lettuce-green color will turn to purple at bloom, Furrer said. The flower is growing more than an inch a day but remains relatively small at 25 pounds, she said.

The odor of rotting flesh lasts about two days.

The conservatory is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

KEVIN GILES

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