Rare, stinky corpse flower is blooming in Chicago

2020/07/29 18:10

Today's Vocabulary

1.corpse (n)
a dead body, especially of a human being rather than an animal


2. stinky (adj)
having a strong or unpleasant smell

3. lure (v)
tempt (a person or animal) to do something or to go somewhere, especially by offering some form of reward

4. decomposition (n)
the state or process of rotting; decay

5. pollen (n)
a fine powdery substance, typically yellow, consisting of microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower or from a male cone


6. conservatory (n)
a room with a glass roof and walls, attached to a house at one side and used as a greenhouse or a sun parlor


7. bloomed (v)
come into or be in full beauty or health; flourish


8. last minute (n)
the latest possible time before an event


Rare, stinky corpse flower is blooming in Chicago

Cover your noses!

A corpse flower named Alice the Amorphophallus is blooming at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and boy does it smell.

Alice can take about 10 years to reach the size needed to support a bloom. After that first bloom, it can take another two or more years to bloom again. And when it does, it blooms for about 24 to 36 hours and smells pretty darn stinky.

Why does it smell so stinky? The Chicago Botanic Garden credits “a combination of dimethyl trisulfide, isovaleric acid, dimethyl disulfide, benzyl alcohol, indole, and trimethylamine.”

The plant is trying to lure carrion beetles and flesh flies (up to an acre away) that are attracted to the smell of decomposition. The insects bring pollen from other plants they’ve visited, thereby pollinating the corpse flower plant.

The scent is most powerful at night.

The garden will be open tonight until 2 a.m. local time for “peak” nighttime bloom viewing, and all day on Wednesday. Those who can’t make it to Chicago at the last minute can watch the flower live on YouTube.

The corpse flower at the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory bloomed in July of 2013. It has lived in the garden since 2007.


  1. Why does the Titan Arum smell so bad?
  2. Why is the corpse flower so rare?
  3. Where is the Titan Arum found?


“ Flowers don’t tell; they show.”

Stephanie Skeem

“ You are like a Rafflesia ( corpse flower ). I wish may you never again bloom in my life.”