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New York’s Favorite Corpse Flower Is Finally Blooming

Watch the celebrity plant event of the season!

Corpsey is finally opening up to us.

Corpsey is finally opening up to us. (Photo: Blake Olmstead)

Attention lovers of life and death: after days of waiting, the New York Botanical Garden’s corpse flower, the celebrity plant of the season, has finally begun to bloom. 

Fans have been waiting with bated breath and pinched noses since this past weekend, when staff suspected the bloom would begin. After nearly a week of teasing, the plant finally started the process today, opening its outer layer to reveal a crimson center. 

The corpse flower, named for its distinctive stench, is native to Sumatra, Indonesia, and only opens up for extreme heat. Its blooming process is long and sensuous, involving the slow unfolding of its spathe (a special kind of petal), and about 36 hours of patented ”decaying body” odor, meant to attract insect pollinators who are into rotting meat.

This is New York’s first corpse flower since 1939. Back then it was called a ”Giant Krubi,” and so captivated the city that it was made the Bronx’s official flower, only dethroned by the day lily in 2000. 

Garden staff have been pampering this one for 10 straight years, waiting for this day. Local devotees can see (and sniff) the putrid prince in person in the NYBG’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, while the rest of us will have to make do with this unisensory livestream. Smellovision can’t come fast enough. 

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.