Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory announced Tuesday that its infamous — and incredibly putrid — Putrella “corpse flower” will bloom soon.
In a post on Facebook, the conservatory wrote: “At just under four feet tall (~122 cm), we can now officially announce Putrella, the corpse flower plant, will bloom!
“When? That’s still a bit of a mystery, but the growers think it will be sometime in the next seven to 14 days. For the latest updates, keep checking our Facebook page!”
The Amorphophallus titanum, found in the wild in Sumatra, Indonesia, is both beautiful and nasty. Its large purple flower emits an odour like rotting meat. Commonly known as the “corpse flower,” staff at the conservatory nicknamed the plant “Putrella.”
It’s called “a corpse flower because when it blooms it emits a smell that attracts pollinator beetles,” staff explained online. “These beetles are usually attracted to rotting flesh so it’s a bit of a bait and switch.”
“I’ve never smelled a dead corpse so I’ve always said it’s the worst smelling diaper pail in the sun that you’ve ever smelled,” said Lora Farmer, a pyramid grower at Muttart.
The flower bloomed almost exactly two years ago at the Muttart, on April 7, 2015.
It can sometimes take years for the plant to develop a flower and the bud grows several metres tall before opening. Before that, it bloomed mid-April 2013.
“Because we are in a very controlled environment for this plant, it’s not in its natural state, we can control it a little more with the fertilizing and the water and the heat temperature,” Farmer explained.
In 2013, it became the first corpse flower to bloom in western Canada. The event generated much hype and excitement, and a record 8,800 people visited over the course of the week. The Muttart extended its hours then as well, to allow as many people as possible to experience the bloom – an event that only lasts about a day.
“It’s such a rare thing,” horticulturist Sarah Birmingham said on April 11, 2013. “It’s the tallest and stinkiest plant and it’s really neat that it has the ability to emulate a dead body in order to get the pollinators (which are carrion beetles and flesh flies) to come smell it.”
In its natural habitat, the plant can expel its smell hundreds of feet.