Waiting until the first day of spring, the U’s nose-toriously stinky corpse flower has bloomed at the school’s St. Paul campus.
The fast-growing plant ta-dah’d in all its glory midafternoon Wednesday at the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences Conservatory.
For anyone willing to stick their nose out, public viewings of the plant named Chauncy are underway from 9 a.m. to and 3:30 p.m. on weekdays until the flower closes at a yet-to-be estimated moment. But hurry, because the bloom typically lasts no more than one to three days.
The U has set up a live web stream for those who wish to keep their nostrils clear of the conservatory, at 1534 Lindig St. in Falcon Heights, during the time of blooming.
Just a month ago, Chauncy was but a tyke at 10 ½ inches tall, according to the conservatory’s growth chart. As of Wednesday, it stood at 46 inches tall, and it could well not be done yet.
The first incidence of a publicized bloom was at London’s Kew Gardens in 1889 after the plant’s discovery two years earlier.
In its native habitat, the corpse flower uses its strong smell to cut through the riot of scents competing for the attention of pollinators from miles away. The flower warms itself to a temperature comparable to that of humans. As it warms, its odor becomes more powerful.
When Chauncy last bloomed, in 2016, university scientists used pollen collected from a different corpse flower by researchers at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., to fertilize the plant. In all, 14 viable seeds were produced.