(Mirror Daily, United States) – The stinky corpse flower is known for staying in bloom for a very limited period – up to 36 hours – so the Chicago Botanic Garden, home to one of these magnificent specimens, had decided to stay open until 2 a.m. on Wednesday for all the curious visitors.
And there were plenty of those; according to local reports, thousands of curiosity seekers and enthusiasts were lined up in the garden, waiting to catch a rare glimpse of the 4 feet-tall (1.4-meters) full bloom. Scientifically known as Amorphophallus titanium or simply titan arum, the corpse flower fully deserves its name.
Emanating a horrible stench like rotting flesh, the full bloom of the flower is designed to attract pollinators that contribute to the plant’s reproduction. However, the visitors arriving late evening to see – and smell – the first titan arum to ever bloom in the Chicago area, were either relieved or disappointed, because the flower’s heavy smell had dissipated over the day.
Chicago’s titan arum – dubbed Alice by the experts – is pale-green with a dark red bloom around the bottom, and it was rather a surprise for the experts following its evolution. They have been expecting for another corpse flower at the garden called Spike to bloom over this past summer, but that turned to be a disappointment.
Spike had been under careful supervision, with a 24/7 webcam on it which attracted 350,000 views; however, it was Alice the one that drew the public to garden in the end. Amorphophallus titanium plants have a very slow evolution, as experienced by Tim Pollak, an outdoor floriculturist who has been observing and caring for Alice for the past 12 years.
In spite of the Spike disappointment, Pollak said the experts’ team was able to learn a lot. The Chicago Botanic garden’s administration has provided all the visitors crowding it these days with seven experts that would explain the bloom’s evolution.
According to Pollak’s documentation, Alice owned up to her corpse flower name right after blooming, early in the morning, but the horrible stink then faded later during the day. Titan arums – originally from the Indonesian rainforest – are a strange plant; after taking around 10 years to bloom, the flower dies.
What experts do is freeze the pollen from specimens that bloom – a sample can last up to two years – and then donate it to other gardens which have their own rare titan arum plants.
Image Source: Chicago Botanic