ST. PETER, Minn. — The pungent aroma of rotting flesh will soon be wafting across the prairie, as one of the corpse flowers at Gustavus Adolphus College is expected to bloom.

The 40-inch-tall flower, known as Gemini, grew a foot and a half last week and may open up over the next few days, professors in the biology department at the college said Wednesday.

The rare and endangered plant doesn't bloom on a schedule and only opens up for a few hours, often spending years or, at times, more than a decade gathering strength for its next appearance.

The corpse flower smells like rotting flesh when it blooms, which is a strategy adopted by the plant to attract flies, beetles and other insects that can help spread its pollen, said Brian O'Brien, a professor emeritus in chemistry at Gustavus.

Over the course of its bloom, the flower's pungent odor takes on notes of fecal matter, decaying fish and sauerkraut, O'Brien said.

The biology department has set up a livestream for curious Minnesotans to watch the plant bloom, especially for those who may have missed out on an earlier bloom by a corpse flower at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in May.

Visitors who want to take a whiff in person are invited from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to the campus's Nobel Hall of Science, with signs directing visitors to the greenhouse on the third floor.

There's a chance Gustavus will have two blooms this year, said Amy Kochsiek, a continuing assistant professor of biology.

There's another plant in the greenhouse that's genetically identical to the one blooming that has a "50/50 chance" of also flowering soon, Kochsiek said.

The flowers at Gustavus, like many corpse flowers across America, arrived as a batch of seeds from Indonesia in the 1990s as part of efforts to preserve the endangered species. The first Gustavus flowering occurred in 2007, another attracted some 5,000 visitors in 2010, and another skunking took place on Halloween night in 2013.

"This plant is quite rare in its habitat, so it's important to maintain the gene pool ... just in case, for instance, it needs to be reintroduced," O'Brien said.

Inside the corpse plant are hundreds of hidden flowers. When the corpse flower blooms, professors at the college will open a hole in the plant and scoop out its pollen with a teaspoon to store for posterity.

One 11-year-old girl at the greenhouse Wednesday said she was excited to see the flower when it eventually blooms.

"I want to actually be able to smell the flower and see how strong it is," said Vivian Winkler, Kochsiek's daughter, adding she is not scared of how pungent it may be.