Smell the 'Corpse Flower' at Fullerton Arboretum


Fullerton Arboretum's Nature Center's resident stinky flower has begun to bloom.  

The scent of the peculiar plant is described as smelling like rotting flesh, which for this flower, took a decade to do. The spathe (the large sheathing bract enclosing the flower cluster of certain plants), gradually opens, releasing the powerful odors to attract pollinators, like insects that feed on dead animals or lay their eggs in rotting meat. 

The aroma gradually increases during the late evening, until the middle of the night when carrion beetles and flesh flies are most active as pollinators. The scent tapers off toward the morning hours. Some of the compounds released by the flower include trimethylamine (which smells like rotting fish), isovaleric acid (sweaty socks), benzyl alcohol (sweet floral scent), phenol (like Chloraseptic), and indole (like human feces).

Staff members noticed the 'corpse flower' blooming on Monday morning which lasts from 24-48 hours. The flower's blooming is a fairly uncommon occurrence and is native to an island in western Indonesia. 


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