They call it the corpse flower because the blossom — the world’s largest, in fact — brings with it the unmistakable smell of death.
But the flower’s morbid name is also a reminder that the giant flower’s bloom also marks its death. Within 24 to 48 hours of the blossom emerging, the flower dies. The chance to see a blossoming corpse flower was enough to attractive more than 20,000 people to the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Amorphophallus titanium, the technical name for the flower.
The Denver Post covered the corpse-ish phenomenon, speaking with several visitors Wednesday and Thursday at the Botanic Gardens to get a sense of people’s reasons for seeing the infamous flower.
Horticulturist Aaron Sedivy was quoted as saying that, among the thousands who visited were a select group of who were “disappointed” that the flower’s deathly aroma absent.
Some visitors were disappointed at the flower’s lack of smell and employees say they heard a number of complaints from people expecting the stench of death.
Wednesday was the best day for visitors to get a whiff of the grave. Garden employees even directed visitors to certain areas of the garden where the smell was at its strongest.
One photo from the garden shows a teenager pinching her nose closed with her fingers.
Live Science said that, at one point during the two days the flower was bearing all, the line to see the stinky plant required a three-hour wait.
The Botanic Gardens’ corpse flower was a donation given to the organization in 2007. It’s the first such flower ever to bloom in the Rocky Mountain region.
A corpse flower’s stomach-turning aroma is actually a matter of self-interest — insects are attracted to the “rotting-meat smell,” diving into the flower and carrying out pollen from the flower’s spadix, a reproductive organ.
The insects trapped inside the flower use the spadix as an escape ladder, climbing up and getting covered with pollen, which they’ll then carry to the next plant.
According to the plant’s life cycle, its leaves will die off and the plant will remain dormant for three to five years.