ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, MI – A flower said to be one of the most fragrant in the world is on display at Grand Valley State University.
Amorphophallus titanum, known as the corpse flower, bloomed at the Barbara Kindschi Greenhouse, located on the second floor of the Kindschi Hall of Science on GVSU’s Allendale campus.
An endangered tropical plant native to Sumatra, Indonesia, it is known as the corpse flower because it smells like rotten flesh to attract pollinators.
“It’s so unusual, it’s so interesting,” said Christina Hipshier, greenhouse supervisor Barbara Kindschi.
According to GVSU, the plant can take about 10 years to grow to the size needed to support flowering. Once the plant is established, it can flower again in less time.
The plant blooms for the first time since arriving at GVSU approx. seven years ago.
A Corpse Flower bloomed at Meijer Gardens after an 18-year wait in 2018.
“She started flowering on Sunday afternoon, so we’re on day three now, so she’s looking a bit sad,” Hipshier said. “But people can still come and see it and see the flower and kind of smell it.”
The plant usually flowers in 24 to 36 hours.
The Corpse Flower can be viewed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
The corpse flower can reach a height of 12 feet, with a bloom diameter of up to five feet, in the wild, but in cultivation it typically reaches a height of around six to eight feet, according to GVSU.
“It was amazing,” Hipshier said. “Over 1,800 people came (Monday evening April 18), so for a greenhouse that is not usually open to the public, it was overwhelming.”
Dead plants are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United States Botanical Garden state that there are less than 1,000 people remaining in the wild.
“One of the reasons we’re trying to show that is so people know what it is and try to hold onto it for the future,” Hipshier said.
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