Corpse flowers take about 10 years to form their first bloom, and when they do, it only lasts for a day or two. That’s what makes the sudden mass blooming of corpse flowers from Missouri to Florida so strange and ominous
Scientists aren’t sure why this phenomenon is happening, but the flowers are releasing their deathly smell in Bloomington, Indiana; Sarasota, Florida; Washington, D.C.; St. Louis and New York, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“A few of us are saying, ‘Well, wait a minute, how did six or seven happen all at once?’” Marc Hachadourian, director of the Nolen Greenhouses at the New York Botanical Garden, told the paper.
For perspective, the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted a study and found only 157 corpse flower blooms between 1889 and 2008.
A corpse flower just fully opened at the Botanical Garden on Friday. It looked like this:
Having seen what it looks like, the Latin name for the flower makes complete sense: Amorphophallus titanum, which translates to “giant misshapen penis.”
The flower is said to share some chemical compounds with Limburger cheese and human feces, creating a miasma that is meant to attract insects to help the plant to pollinate.
Descriptions of the smell range from person to person, but the consensus is that it’s definitely not pleasant.