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.