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Corpse flower blooms at Muttart Conservatory (and stinks it up)

Julia Wong/Global News

Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory is a bit smellier this weekend.

The Putrella, also known as the corpse flower due to its pungent smell, fully opened overnight Friday.

READ MORE: Putrella, the stinky corpse flower, will bloom again at Muttart Conservatory

While the flower, which is native to Sumatra, Indonesia, start budding 40 days ago when it started growing, the actual bloom began late Friday, according to program manager Alex Hamilton.

The last time the flower bloomed was in 2015, and prior to that, it last bloomed in 2013.

“It was really exciting to know it was blooming,” Hamilton said. “The real challenge with a corpse flower bloom is it’s a little like a baby being born – we know it’s coming, we just don’t know when.”

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The flower can sometimes spend years gathering the energy to bloom. Hamilton said the conservatory only knows 10 days before the flower opens and, although it has bloomed every other year, it does not know when it will bloom again.

The flower is known for several things, such as its stinky smell, which helps to attract pollinators such as carrion beetles. It is also known for its towering size – it grows six inches per day during its peak growth period, then the growth slows to half an inch to an inch per day before stopping completely. The flower can grow up to 12 feet tall.

The flower stays opens for 24 to 48 hours. Hamilton said it is hard to predict exactly how long it will stay open.

READ MORE: World’s smelliest flower set to bloom in Edmonton 

“The corpse flower will start to flop over and then it will start to decompose. That could happen probably [around] 72 to 90 hours. After that, we will make a decision as to what the future holds for the corpse flower – knowing that it becomes structurally unsound – so we will end up having to do a little bit of pruning,” he said.

The first time the flower bloomed, approximately 7,000 people visited the Edmonton conservatory and roughly 6,000 did so in 2013. However, Hamilton said this is the first time the flower has bloomed on a weekend so the conservatory is expecting attendance to be affected.

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The conservatory has extended its hours; it will close at 11 p.m. on Saturday and is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

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