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Smelly corpse flower expected to bloom soon at Honolulu botanical garden

  • COURTESY HONOLULU DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION

    The “corpse flower” at Foster Botanical Garden about ready to bloom.

The smell is rancid, but the flower is awe-inspiring, and the rare bloom only lasts a few days.

The Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the “corpse flower,” is expected to bloom as early as this Sunday at Honolulu’s Foster Botanical Garden.

Plant specialists, who are closely monitoring developments, say that the bloom normally opens in the afternoon, is in full bloom at night and finishes two days later. The first 24 hours are the smelliest.

Due to the limited opportunity, city parks officials have extended Foster Botanical Garden’s hours of operation. The garden will stay open two hours later than usual for two days, until 6 p.m., on Sunday and Monday.

It may be the only corpse flower bloom for the botanical garden this year.

“Last year we were blessed to have five of our 10 ‘corpse flower’ specimens bloom and stink up our conservatory to the delight of hundreds of visitors,” said Joshlyn Sand, Honolulu Botanical Garden director, in a a news release. “This year we were hoping to get at least one bloom in our collection, so we are so pleased to be able to share this unique plant with everyone. This will likely be the only bloom for this year, so we truly encourage the public to come down and experience the stink while it lasts!”

Amorphophallus titanum, or titan arum, is an endangered species native to the rainforest of Sumatra, Indonesia. It can take seven to 10 years for a corpse flower to bloom for the first time. Afterwards, it only blooms once every two to five years or more. The bloom’s strong stench attracts pollinators such as the carrion beetle.

The corpse flower is in the 14-acre botanical garden’s Orchid Conservatory, which is also home to leopard orchids, spider orchids, blood lilies and amaryllis.

Foster Botanical Garden’s regular hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Latest news on this particular bloom is available at special hotline at 768-7125.

Updates are also available via the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation’s social media channels on Twitter and Instagram (@honolulu_parks) and Facebook.

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