It’s big. It’s rare. It stinks like you wouldn’t believe.
And soon Vancouver’s corpse flower “Uncle Fester” will be drawing large crowds at the Queen Elizabeth Park’s Bloedel Conservatory as it blooms for the second time ever.
The plants, known scientifically as Amorphophallus titanum, grow to a massive size and bloom unpredictably — usually with years between flowers.
They’re best known for the distinctive stench they produce, described as similar to rotting meat or even diapers — an evolutionary trait that draws carrion eating insects that serve as pollinators.
Because of their massive size and energy requirements, the flowers can take up to a decade to produce their first bloom, though some can repeat the feat every two or three years, according to the conservatory.
Once in bloom, the flower will last just one day before wilting and going dormant again.
Uncle Fester first flowered in 2018 after a six year growing period, drawing a huge lineup of curious Vancouverites.
This year, due to COVID-19, the conservatory is only selling tickets online for pre-determined timeslots.
Officials say the exact date the flower will bloom remains unknown, and inviting people to make their own predictions on when Uncle Fester will burst forth.
In its current growth spurt, the conservatory says the plant has climbed more than half a metre in the period of a month. It’s expected to add another seven centimetres per day over the next two to three weeks.
They’re also predicting it could produce a flower larger than the nearly two-metre bloom produced in 2018.
Corpse flowers are native to Indonesia’s Sumatra rainforests and are classified as “vulnerable” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.