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June 18, 2014

Corpse flower's stench graces MSU

Summer is here. Birds are singing. Children are playing. Flowers are blooming. And the smell of death is in the air.

That’s because Michigan State University’s corpse flower bloomed again this week. The five-foot tall Amorphophallus titanum is best known for its putrid scent, which ranges in description from dirty socks to a rotting animal.

Despite its spectacular stench, it attracted more than 3,000 visitors during its short-lived bloom.

“When it bloomed, it lasted only 24 to 48 hours,” said Peter Carrington, MSU plant biologist. “In any given decade, only a handful of corpse flowers bloom outside of their native habitat of Indonesia.”

The last time this MSU corpse flower bloomed was in 2010.

Visitors flocked to MSU’s Plant Biology Conservatory (Wilson Road, just east of Farm Lane), waited in upwards of three hours, filled parking lots and were lined up in the rain all the way out to Wilson Road and wrapping around to the Plant Biology Building.

"We had people visit from all over the Midwest and as far away as Montreal," said Telewski.

To see photos and video of the corpse flower’s growth, visit the Beal Botanical Garden Facebook page.

By: Layne Cameron

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