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Rare 'Corpse Flower' That Smells Like Rotting Flesh Blooms in US Zoo Ahead of Halloween 2020

Corpse flowers grow once in a decade and are called so thanks to their unbearable smell that reminds one of rotting flesh | Image  credit: Twitter

Corpse flowers grow once in a decade and are called so thanks to their unbearable smell that reminds one of rotting flesh | Image credit: Twitter

The Amorphophallus titanium that grows once a decade is commonly known as the ‘corpse flower’ due to the rotting flesh odour it emits when it is in full bloom.

With Halloween just around the corner even the Nashville Zoo seems to be getting in on the celebrations. Inside the zoo’s aviary you will not only be able to see one of the largest flowers in the world, but also experience its peculiar corpse flower’s odour.

The Amorphophallus titanium – commonly known as the ‘corpse flower’ gets its name from the rotting flesh odour it emits when it is in full bloom. The plant which can grow more than 10-feet blooms once in every eight to ten years and it only lasts for a few days. The flower, native to Sumatra, was donated to the zoo by Vanderbilt University when they closed their greenhouses.

Retired Vanderbilt Greenhouse Operator Jonathan Ertelt told WKRN that the plant grows just one leaf each year. ‘With the leaf going straight up to 10-feet in the air and then branching out to a large compound leaf’. Referring to its blooming cycle, ‘the plant for the first time in eight years is flowering and has got enough energy in the tuber,’ he said. Initially it was the size of a golf ball and now looks like ‘misshapen basketball ‘, weighing around 30-40 pounds (14-15 kg).

Ertelt is very happy and proud about the zoo’s special arrangements for the public to view the corpse flower in full bloom. ‘Having it visible and letting people know more of the other side of the world around them is exciting is pretty special, he added.

Ertelt said, the plant’s main attraction is its odour, ‘It generally is ‘odorific’ and not in a pleasant way’. Relating the smell to odour infusing chemical compounds like rotting fish, old gym socks, cheese. The smell is different to different people, though none of them sound especially pleasant, he added.

Nashville Zoo posted a time lapse video showing the flower blooming over an eight-hour period.

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