Share this story...
corpse flower
Latest News

Ciscoe Morris: Amazon’s corpse flower is the coolest plant I’ve ever seen

The corpse flower blooms once every seven to 10 years, and when it does, it smells really, really bad. While that’s not the greatest return on investment as plants go, it did not deter Amazon from acquiring one of its own.

“It really sends out a wild, stinky odor,” said gardening guru Ciscoe Morris, who joined Seattle Morning News at the Amazon Spheres to discuss it. “They’ve done scientific tests and figured out it smells like rotting fish, Limburger cheese, sweaty socks, and feces. But it’s got this cloying, sweet floral smell on top.”

Otherwise known as Amorphophallus titanum, the stinky plant is native to Sumatra and is called the corpse flower because of the rotten smell it emits during its 48-hour bloom. Amazon named their own “Morticia,” and while the bloom has come and gone, you’ll be able to check it out in its non-stinky state during public visiting times.

RELATED: Ciscoe Morris’ legacy transcends the garden

“Amorphophallus titanum is the coolest plant I’ve ever seen in the world. It is a true monster,” Morris said. “It’s so amazing because underground what you don’t see is this gigantic corm — which looks a like a giant bulb — and they go way up to 300 pounds. And then up above, you get the biggest unbranched flower in the world. Some of them have been known to be over 10 feet tall.”

The smell doesn’t merely exist to cause people to turn up their noise; rather, it’s meant to draw in pollinating insects that actually like it.

“The reason this plant evolved to do this is because it’s out in the rain forest, where there are so many plants competing,” Morris said. “Some are after moths so they put out sweet odors, a lot are after bees so they have special colors that bees are attracted to, but this plant doesn’t want to have to compete with all those guys, so it found its own niche.”

“Its niche is to stink like a herd of cattle just died,” joked Morris.

Most Popular