Here’s some news that stinks: The University of Minnesota’s corpse flower is about to bloom and emit an aroma of prodigiously pungent proportions.
The College of Biological Sciences Conservatory, on the U’s St. Paul campus, has scheduled special hours for public viewing and pee-yewing of the flower (named Chauncey) starting Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day until the flower closes.
The notoriously noxious plant, native to Sumatra’s equatorial rain forests, can be up to 6 feet tall and emit a scent often likened to rotting meat.
The corpse flower, listed as an endangered species, “has been a treasured collectors’ item for botanical gardens around the world,” said conservatory curator Lisa Philander.
The university has set up a live web stream for those who wish to keep their nostrils away from the main attraction at the time of blooming at the conservatory, located in Falcon Heights at 1534 Lindig St.
The first incidence of a publicized bloom was at London’s Kew Gardens in 1889 after its 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 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.