Corpse Flower Stinking Up Botanical Garden Later This Month

Jul 13, 2017

One of the smelliest varieties of corpse flowers will be blooming in about 10 days at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. The Titan arum comes from Sumatra and is exceptionally rare.

While there have been other types of corpse flowers in Iowa, the Botanical Garden says it believes this is state’s first Titan arum to bloom. The plant has evolved to smell like the flesh of a rotting mammal.

"The plant itself actually heats up, to help kind of disseminate the order," explains curatorial horticulturist Derek Carwood. "It’s going to basically smell like a dead animal right in the middle of the conservatory. And the point of that smell is to attract carrion beetles."

The beetles are the flower’s pollinators. In place of the insects, Carwood says he plans to deposit pollen from Titan arums that are located in Ohio and Missouri.

If you miss Titan arum’s bloom, you’ll get another chance in about three to five years.