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Rare stinky ‘corpse’ flower soon to bloom at B.C. conservatory

A rare flower going by the fitting nickname Uncle Fester will bloom any day now in Vancouver, and is anticipated to make quite the stink.

The corpse flower, also known as titan arum, only blooms every seven to 10 years, letting off a stench described by those who have taken a waft as a smell similar to a decaying animal, stinky diapers or leftover garbage.

Back in 2016, the Vancouver Park Board acquired the flower from a nursery in North Carolina. Then, it was a mere 25-pound corm, or bulb. The flower now sits, awaiting its exciting bloom, at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park.

“Our excellent horticultural staff have lovingly tended it ever since,” said park board chair Stuart Mackinnon in a news release.

“Any day now residents and visitors will have a chance to witness one of nature’s strangest displays.”

The flower is native to rain forests on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, known as the largest corm in the world, growing up to 200 pounds.

Each year, it produces a leaf, reaching up to 15 feet, as a way to absorb energy from the sun. Once the corm has enough energy to produce a flower bud and attempt to reproduce, a visual event unfolds.

Vancouver horticulturists noticed an 11-inch spongy flower bud forming on June 21, according to the park board. By June 29, the bud was 28 inches tall.

What comes next is the final bloom. That’s when the smell will be released from inside the flower, intended to attract small insects and bugs that typically lay eggs inside dying animals in order to fertilize the flower.

In recent weeks, the conservatory hosted a naming contest, as organizers anticipate growing crows as the flower starts to show.

While Stinky McStinkerton and Odorable were a close second and third, Uncle Fester come out on top as the most popular name for the infamous plant.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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Ashley Wadhwani

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