Cornell University's famous (and smelly) "Corpse Flower" blooms


The biggest superstar on the Cornell University campus isn't a professor, football player or a researcher with a breakthrough - it isn't even a person. Crowds are flocking to a greenhouse to see and smell a seven foot tall Titan Arum.

It's commonly known as a "Corpse Flower" and it has finally bloomed.

"This entire greenhouse will smell like rotting flesh," said plant science professor Karl Niklas. "Good thing we can open some of the windows."

The plant is nicknamed "Wee Stinky". It is native only to the western side of Sumatra and can grow three inches in a day. The terrible smell is intended to attract Sumatran bugs that help spread the plant's seeds.

"Flesh eating, decomposing corpses, beetles and flies," said Niklas.

Even with all the amazing flowers meticulously cultivated by Cornell's botanists, it was the smelliest one that many wanted to get a selfie with.

"I think it's the rarity and the weird smell," said Betsy Leonard.

Some corpse flowers go a decade or more without blooming but Cornell botanists were able to bring wee stinky to bloom in 2014 and again this year. 10,000 people came through the greenhouse in 2014 and half a million people watched on live webcams.

Gardener Christine Jermalovic wanted to see the corpse flower in person but was glad she was in the greenhouse pre-bloom.

"I'm happy to miss the smell. That's OK," said Jermalovic.

Botanists at Cornell expect the corpse flower to bloom sometime Thursday night or Friday. That terrible smell last for less than 48 hours.

You can watch the corpse flower on a live webcam here.

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