'Corpse flowers' raise stink on Easter Sunday
A few titan arums bloom each year. In 2010, the Indonesian plant flowered at the botanical gardens in Tokyo.
April 24th, 2011
12:40 PM ET

'Corpse flowers' raise stink on Easter Sunday

In the botanical sciences greenhouse at Ohio State University, "Woody," a titan arum, bloomed Saturday for the first time after growing for nearly 10 years.

The plant, commonly called a "corpse flower" because of its pungent odor,  is the second cultivated titan arum to blossom this weekend. In Switzerland, a botanical garden is getting a whiff of its own titan arum.

“(The leaves) began to open just a little bit after 4 p.m. and it was fully open at 9:30 p.m.,” Ohio State greenhouse coordinator Joan Leonard told CNN Sunday.

And by the smell of it, Woody is giving Leonard all she can stand.

“It definitely has that lathered meat, roadkill kind of smell,” Leonard said. “You know when you take out the trash, and it starts to get that smell like if you put chicken or meat in the garbage well, intensify that,” Leonard said.

Ohio State has opened the greenhouse to the public Sunday and Monday and has set up a webcam to capture the plant online.  Woody is named after OSU's legendary football coach, Woody Hayes.

In Switzerland, long lines have formed at the Basel Botanical Gardens to see the Amorphophallus titanum, CTV News reports.  It's the first time in 17 years the plant has bloomed.

The foul-smelling show in Basel was expected to last several hours before the leaves started to wilt Sunday. But in the meantime, it was raising quite a stink.

‘‘It’s the best thing you can have in a Botanical Garden," said Heinz Schneider of the Botanical Institute at the University of Basel,  according to Euro News. "It’s the star attraction. In terms of visitor numbers we’re at our peak. From now on fewer and fewer people will come," he said.

The plant entered Western culture in 1878 when Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari discovered it in the rainforests of Sumatra. He  sent back to Europe seeds that flowered 11 years later in Britain, according to the Botanical Gardens Kew website. It can grow to be 10 feet tall.

Because of its increased cultivation in botanical gardens, every year finds a few titan arums blooming in various spots around the world.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Indonesia • Ohio
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ Psyclops... LOL , This story is written every year about this flower.... boring. Sorry guys but it would be nice to switch it up.

    April 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earl Butz

      I wonder if someone will make a prom dress out of duct tape this year?

      April 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Complainer#2

      Yeah, I know. Stop bothering us once a year. It's getting old.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      Yeah, well, you wouldn't want CNN covering NEWS now would you?

      April 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      You're right. CNN's coverage is way too boring. I'm tuning into Fox News, get the real scoop...how it's Obama's fault the flower blooms only once a year and stinks.

      April 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dim Mak

    Oh and really isn't Easter the celebration of humans torturing and killing the son of God? Anyone ever see the movie Gangs of New York? Well the main bad guy (Bill the butcher) in that movie celebrated every year his victory by a bloody death over his rival known as the "priest".. Sounds eerily similar and one of the reasons I'm suspect about religion.

    April 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • revolation

      no. easter is about the resurrection of the son of god.

      April 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daelda

      Actually, Easter was originally a celebration dedicated to the pagan goddess Ēostre. It is a springtime celebration of renewal and fertility (that's why we use rabbits and eggs – symbols of fertility). So a story about an odd flower booming is perfectly appropriate.

      April 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ Dim Mak , well said. I understand what your saying. I for one believe that "RELIGION" is a product of ppls belief of what God is saying to us, also has twisted his words to suit their needs. I am a child of Gods who tries every day to be that child God intends me to be. Unfortunately I will fail and fortunately God is the one who will be judging me.

    April 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ Dim Mak: Afterthought ... Actions speak louder than words , just saying that about me. Wow Philip you have made me take a long hard look at myself ... thank you my friend.

    April 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jason

    Just in time for the Royal Wedding:-)

    April 24, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |

    this flowers stinks....

    April 24, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. James Garrett

    I wonder if the flowering plant has any medicinal value or any value than beauty and a maloderous smell?

    April 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Curt

    Should a grown some marijuana smells better and doesn't take as long 😀

    April 24, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Prof. Rufus T. Firefly

    Curt, Curt, Curt. It's should "of" grown some marijuana, not should "a" grown...

    You're not from 'round here, are you?

    April 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Rufu, Rufus, Rufus... And Curt. It is "should have" not "should of" or "should a".

      April 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • DYBO

      Could a, would a, should a.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • old guy

      John John John: you missed the Prof's irony...

      April 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • asgardshill

      You say tomato, I say tomahto, they say Cannabis Sativa, let's call the whole thing off.

      April 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Carl Linnaeus

    Actually, I can suggest a new name for this plant:

    The Funkadendron.

    Apologies to George Clinton.

    April 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hmmmmmmmmmm

    Where's that little Loser "The Song Fits", when you need him? I'm sure he can provide us with some song lyrics for this thread, that really STINK! LOL!

    Well, maybe he's busy hangin' out in his basement! LOL!!!!!

    April 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beth


      Yeah maybe the basement or he's trying to dig through 6 feet of dirt while singing his hero Eminem's rap! LOL!!!!

      April 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dim Mak

    @down to earth: Great I understand the holiday, but nobody ever truly dies if they are a believer. How many leeches profit after a musician or entertainer dies? Is this not what Christianity is? Milking the death of God's son for profit? By all accounts Jesus was spit on whipped beaten urinated on and had feces thrown at him before he was nailed to a cross with huge spikes, then he was left to rot out in the sun and stabbed with a spear. Truly something to celebrate. 😐

    April 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ole Lady

    Glad its not in my garden. BTW "the song fits" is on his back porch rollin a blunt with his homies" And it really stinks!

    April 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      LOLOLOLOL, gotta love that Ole Lady 🙂

      April 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cesar

    10 years? Is this what they call a late bloomer?

    April 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Incompetent Writer

    Its pungent ODOR. You and your editor are both incompetent.

    April 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
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