Dying to smell the corpse flower? One of the rare giant plants — also known as the titan arum — is about to unfurl for the first time in five years at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. And it’s gonna stink.
Kim DeLong, the school’s greenhouse manager and curator, told the Associated Press that when the 61/2-foot-tall plant named Morphy blooms, it will give off a stench that is described as a mix of rotting flesh, feces and urine.
“I have taken anatomy courses with cadavers before, and this is way beyond cadavers,” Long said in an interview with Boston.com on Tuesday, September 20. “It’s way worse. It’s nauseating.” But that hasn’t stopped crowds from packing into the greenhouse. The AP reported that on Sunday, Morphy had 175 visitors eager to catch a whiff.
The phallic tropical flower, which heats up to 98 degrees, will only stay open for two to three days. And no worries: If you can’t make it to Darmouth in time, a livestream on the school’s website has been been set up called “Watch Morphy Rise From the Ashes.”
In July, Chicago Botanic Garden’s floriculturist Tim Pollak analyzed the plant’s odor. It’s made up of:
1. Dimethyl trisulfide, which is also emitted by cooked onions and limburger cheese, known for it’s
2. Dimethyl disulfide, which has an odor like garlic.
3. Trimethylamine, which is found in rotting fish or ammonia.
4. Isovaleric acid, which also causes sweaty socks to stink.
5. Phenol, which is sweet and medicinal, as in Chloraseptic throat spray.
6. Indole, which smells like mothballs.
7. Benzyl alcohol, which is a sweet floral scent found in jasmine and hyacinth.
Meanwhile, Morphy isn’t alone. There’s another corpse flower preparing to bloom at North Carolina State this week, while Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo has one set to open at any moment.
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