titan arumAs a mother to a toddler son, my days are filled with plenty of stink. So why am I stalking the U.S. Botanic Garden—both the physical location, right down the hill from where I live and the organization’s web site—for updates about the imminent bloom of the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanium), better known as the corpse flower or stinky plant?

My Midwestern farm girl roots have, for better or worse, turned me into an avid gardener. Plus, plants are just neat—especially those with an unpredictable blooming cycle. The time span between blooms for a titan arum can be anywhere from a few years to a few decades. It takes ages to create enough energy to produce a bloom that spectacular! This particular plant at the U.S. Botanic Garden was the size of a lima bean when it arrived there in 2007, and it now weighs over 250 pounds. It’s taken nearly seven years, but it’s about to bloom for the first time, possibly Saturday afternoon or Sunday. As the spathe—the portion of the plant that looks like a flower—unfurls, the plant will emit a rotting meat odor. Don’t delay in seeing this rancid beauty—the bloom will only remain open for 48 hours at most before it quickly collapses.

If your children are fans of Katy Kelly’s Melonhead or Lucy Rose books, tell them that it’s time to go in search of the big stink.

Have you witnessed a titan arum in bloom? Is it horribly stinky? Do you hope to visit the U.S. Botanic Garden this weekend to see the bloom?

When she’s not dealing with various forms of stink, Rebecca writes about reading, cooking, gardening, and life at home with a 22-month-old at Dr. Blondie.

Photo credit: Rebecca Thomas