Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Brooklyn, New York - Atlas Obscura
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Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Sniff the Titan Arum's rotting flesh. 

As you enjoy a leisurely walk through the beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, you may notice the intoxicating smell.

You’ll try to put your finger on it… Is it rotting meat, or perhaps a petting zoo gone horribly wrong? All you know is that it’s a bad smell.

In fact, that is the Titan Arum, poisoning the air with its rare blooming smell. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has had the Arum for quite some time, with a recent bloom in 2006. So lucky visitors who come at the right time may just get to smell one of the worst natural smells on earth, naturally emanating from the giant stalk of a flower.

Besides the Titan Arum’s stink, many more plants and gardens will delight you. The garden has one of the largest Japanese-style gardens in America, complete with cherry blossoms in spring, a lake, and a handsome (and eye-catching) red gate.

Interesting gardens abound at the BBG. There’s a Shakespeare Garden planted with the very plants that the Bard mentioned in his plays; a Rose Garden planned to have more than 1,000 varieties of the flower; and 100 different types of aquatic plants, including many waterlilies, grace the terrace’s pools. There are many other gardens, such as Daffodil Hill, the Rock Garden, the Herb Garden, and the formal Osborne Garden.

The BBG also has a substantial collection of bonsai plants, many of them centuries old. The oldest, which is 300 years old, was collected from a mountainside in Japan a century ago. The Desert Pavilion houses many rare and unusual plants collected from deserts located around the world, including lithops and the very thorny Euphorbia milii.