Olbrich Botanical Gardens' stinky corpse flower in bloom - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Olbrich Botanical Gardens' stinky corpse flower in bloom

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The corpse flower at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, named Mori, began its rare, stinky bloom Thursday.

Visitors have a short window to observe this rare, stinky spectacle in the tropical Bolz Conservatory from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday, June 14, 2018 and from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday, June 15, 2018. The Gardens will be closed to the public on Saturday, June 16, for Rhapsody in Bloom, Olbrich’s annual gala fundraiser. Conservatory admission is $2 for the public, free for children 5 & under, and free for Olbrich members.

Known as amorphophallus titanum (titan arum), the corpse flower will only bloom four to five times during its 40-year life. titan arum are best known for their unpleasant odor -- comparable to rotting meat.

This particular corpse flower, affectionately called Mori (which is the Latin word for death) is an  offspring of the Big Bucky Corpse Flower at UW-Madison, and last bloomed at Olbrich in 2009. The flower will only last a few days before it closes.

WHAT'S THAT SMELL?

According to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens website, the titan arum attracts pollinators with the smell of rotting fish. People associate rotten smells with decay; carrion beetles associate these same odors with a tasty meal. The beetles are drawn to the smelly flower, then pollinate it with the male pollen grains they may be carrying.

All plants must be pollinated to bear fruit. Pollination usually happens when a male pollen grain is brought to the female part of the flower by water, wind, insects, animals, or humans. When this connection happens, a fruit can grow. Titan Arum fruit is reddish-orange, and cherry-sized. Pollen from Olbrich's Titan Arum will be collected and may be sent to other botanic gardens to pollinate their Titan Arum plants.

HISTORY

The amorphophallus titanum is native to Indonesia and was discovered in 1878 by Odoardo Beccari, an Italian botanist.

Most botanical gardens in the United States owe their Titan Arums to James R. Symon, who collected fruits and brought them to the United States in 1993 for conservation. The Indonesian rain forests of Sumatra are being destroyed by deforestation, leaving the native Titan Arum vulnerable. At Olbrich Botanical Gardens, the Titan Arum pollen will be collected and used to pollinate others in greenhouses throughout the United States.

Read more on the Olbrich Botanical Gardens website here, or on Facebook below. 

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