Rare 'Corpse Flower' set to Bloom at the U of M

February 2, 2016
A corpse flower in bloom sends a pale shaft nearly six feet high.

For the first time in seven years, the University’s giant “corpse flower,” native to the rain forests of Sumatra, is making an appearance. Known as the titan arum, this blooming behemoth emits a stench like rotting meat that attracts the sweat bee, its pollinator. The bees come from miles around during the rare, short flowering periods, which last only a couple of days.

The plant generates enough heat to bring its temperature almost to that of a human, and this intensifies the odor. The smell also changes during the course of a bloom.

At nearly six feet tall, it is a sight to behold. Visitors are welcome to see it this week at the Biological Sciences Conservatory, 1534 Lindig St., on the St. Paul campus. It will remain open till 9 p.m. while the plant is in bloom. You may also view a time-lapse of the flowering.