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Corpse Flower to Bloom at EIU

Jun-25-2014

It appears to be happening again!

Steven Malehorn, manager of Eastern Illinois University’s H.F. Thut Greenhouse, is eagerly awaiting the fourth blooming of EIU’s Corpse Flower. The plant previously bloomed in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

The developing flower (technically an inflorescence) could grow to be seven feet tall and three feet wide, and will definitely smell “nasty,” Malehorn said. It is growing from a 62-pound tuber, which is 20 pounds heavier than the one that bloomed in 2010.

He “guesstimates” the plant will bloom sometime between July 7 and 10. "However, the exact date can't be known until about a day or so before it actually blooms," he said. "But when it does bloom, it will happen fast -- within hours -- and the bloom will only last one night."

Based on past experience, Malehorn believes the bloom likely will begin some early afternoon. The spathe will gradually open and be fully open by about 6 p.m., followed by an intense “roadkill” aroma that can be smelled, literally, a mile away. The odor is strongest from about 8 p.m. until midnight and gradually diminishes through the night. The powerful odor is used to attract flies that pollinate the flowers.

The bloom should be at its peak from about 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following day when the spathe starts to gradually close. Over the next few days, the giant flower will slowly collapse.

"However," Malehorn added, "it could surprise us and start blooming late in the evening and we wouldn’t know until the following morning that it had bloomed. Therefore, no promises on the blooming schedule."

The developing flower can be viewed anytime through the south window of the Thut Greenhouse on EIU’s campus. The greenhouse will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. daily for the duration of the event, beginning June 30. On the day of the bloom, the greenhouse will be open until midnight. The greenhouse will then be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the day following the bloom.

Go here for live streaming video of the event. Follow the greenhouse here for up-to-the-minute bloom information. For other information, including a daily blog, photos and parking information, go here.

Questions? Contact Steven Malehorn at shmalehorn@eiu.edu or phone 217-581-3126 (Department of Biological Sciences’ main office) Monday through Friday.