Corpse Plant blooms at Foster Botanical Garden

Some say it smells like a fish, dead rat

Published  1:44 PM HST Sep 06, 2013

What's that smell, you ask?

If you were anywhere around Foster Botanical Garden downtown, it was likely the Corpse Plant that, in the last 24 hours, has bloomed.

The floral oddity is now creating a buzz.

Only the largest single flower plant in the plant kingdom could generate this type of celebrity status.  And no other plant may be described as "fish" or a "dead rat."

"I was expected something dead smelling. Like a corpse. But it actually smelled like cuttlefish," said Jacob Kunukau.

But the amorphophallus titanum, or Corpse Plant, earns its name for a reason.
Just ask Foster Botanical Garden horticulturist Scot Mitamura.

"I was up on an 8-foot ladder taking photographs down and it was like, 'Oh, bad.'  It smells like maybe a dead rat,” said Mitamura who was up late Thursday night.

The plant was at full bloom at midnight last night.

"You could smell it from the parking lot, from Maunakea Street," said Mitamura.

The reason for the flower's stench is simply survival.  It mimics the smell of dead animals to attract the carrion beetle to help pollinate the plant.

The corpse plant blooms every 3-to-5-years and the scent usually only lasts 48 hours.

"It smells like a mixture of bagong and hom ha and it’s delicious to me," said Phyllis Gomes. "It doesn’t smell like rotting meat at all."

The experts at Foster Botanical Garden said there's probably one more day to see and smell the corpse flower in all its glory, before it goes into a dormant stage.

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