Thousands View Bloom of Rare Corpse Flower

Visitors to Colorado State University’s conservatory in Fort Collins were treated to a special sight over Memorial Day weekend, as a rare eight-year-old corpse flower bloomed for the first time.

Footage released by Colorado State University shows a timelapse of the unusual event.

The plant, named Cosmo by staff at the Plant Growth Facilities center, came to Fort Collins in 2016, and May marked its first bloom while at CSU, the university said.

“When a corpse flower blooms, it emits a pungent odor that’s been compared to the smell of rotting flesh. This smell is the strongest for the initial 12 hours after the bloom, but can still be detected for 24-48 hours,” CSU wrote on Facebook.

The university said more than 8,600 people came to view the remarkable plant over Memorial Day weekend.

The corpse flower, or Amorphophallus titanum, is the largest unbranched inflorescence (a collection of flowers acting as one) in the plant kingdom.

The plant can grow up to eight feet tall. During bloom, its corpse-like smell lures pollinators like carrion beetles and flies.

According to the US Botanic Garden, “The corpse flower does not have an annual blooming cycle. The bloom emerges from, and energy is stored in, a huge underground stem called a ‘corm.’ The plant blooms only when sufficient energy is accumulated, making time between flowering unpredictable, spanning from a few years to more than a decade.” Credit: Colorado State University via Storyful