Campus "corpse flower" poised to bloom

Sept. 21, 2010

by Nicole Miller

The Titan Arum -- a.k.a. corpse flower -- is expected to bloom today (Tuesday, Sept. 21), or possibly tomorrow in the D.C. Smith Greenhouse. Once it starts, the pungent bloom will last for between 24 and 48 hours.

The Titan Arum is native to Sumatra and famous for the repulsive odor its mature flower gives off. The scent is reminiscent of rotting meat and is designed to attract the carrion beetles and flesh flies that typically pollinate the plant.

This particular Titan Arum, which stands 50 inches high, is the progeny of Big Bucky, the first Titan Arum plant to bloom on campus in 2001. It's the first time the 9-year-old plant has flowered. Because it's not going to be pollinated, the entire flower structure will collapse after bloom.

The Titan Arum is on display in the D.C. Smith Greenhouse's conservatory, at 465 Babcock Drive. If the plant blooms today, the conservatory will extend its hours, which are typically 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., until 10 p.m. Likewise, if it blooms tomorrow the conservatory will be open from 8:30 am. to 10 p.m. to accommodate visitors. Parking is available at nearby Lot 36, at 1645 Observatory Drive.

Updates on the bloom can be found here.

For more information, contact greenhouse manager Johanna Oosterwyk at (608) 262-3844 or jmooster@wisc.edu.