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Saint Paul, Minnesota

Marjorie McNeely Conservatory (Como Park)

Home to the Amorphophallus titanum "Corpse Flower," which is among the largest flowers in the world and also smells powerfully of rotting flesh when in bloom. 

Though the architecture of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is worth the trip alone, the conservatory (located in sprawling Como Park) is home to a wide variety of beautiful, fragrant and rare plants from all over the world. The Conservatory is a particular treat in the winter when contrast between the semitropical inside and drifting snow outside makes it feel like a reverse snowglobe.

The crown jewel of their collection is the Amorphophallus titanum, so called “Corpse Flower” on display. Before producing its single bloom, the Corpse Flower has been known to grow upwards of seven inches every day, reaching maturity at heights up to 12 feet tall, emitting an overpowering stench reminiscent of rotting flesh when it is in full bloom. This is not a permanent exhibit, though the indoor medicinal plant display is.

This particular species of flower was first identified in the late 1800s in Indonesia, and has only been known to bloom 125 times since its discovery. Two of these occurrences have taken place at the Como Park Conservatory, the last of which took place in April 2008.