Stinky 'corpse flower' to bloom in Edmonton
The "corpse flower" at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton is shown in a City of Edmonton handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-City of Edmonton)
Published Thursday, April 11, 2013 9:13PM EDT
EDMONTON -- A giant plant is preparing to bloom in Edmonton, but visitors should be prepared to hold their noses.
Amorphophallus titanum, commonly known as the "corpse flower," is expected to open in two to three weeks inside one of the city's landmark glass pyramids at the Muttart Conservatory.
Staff horticulturist Sarah Birmingham said the day the flower opens, it will emit a stench like dead bodies or rotting meat.
The promised putrid smell has led staff to nickname their newest attraction Putrella, she said. Those preparing for the big day are even thinking about handing out souvenir barf bags.
"I don't think it will assault your senses so much that it's going to make you physically nauseous, but you never know," Birmingham said with a smile.
"But if you're coming to see it, you should be aware that it stinks and take a deep breath before you come in. Take a picture and let the others do the same thing. Then you can go outside and get some fresh air."
The tropical plant is found in the wild in Sumatra, an island in Indonesia, but is also grown in greenhouses around the world. Each time it blooms, it's an event.
Another corpse flower bloomed this week in Miami and one opened last year in Niagara Falls, Ont. The Edmonton flower will be the first to bloom in Western Canada, said Birmingham.
She said Putrella came from Boston last summer as a 125-kilogram tuber, the size of a tire, packed in dirt. In March, a bud cracked through the soil and last weekend staff became certain it would flower.
It can take years for the plant to develop a flower and the bud grows several metres tall before opening.
It's an amazing sight: a giant, purple-reddish bloom, like something out of the Little Shop of Horrors movie.
Birmingham said anyone who wants to see Putrella will have to hurry because its bloom will only last for a few days and its unforgettable scent will last for only one.
"Everyone's really excited about it. There've been 4,000 hits on our Facebook page in last three hours."
She said the Muttart will announce the bloom on Facebook and its website as soon as it happens. Visiting hours might also be extended for a few days.