Corpse flower expected to bloom soon

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One of the largest, rancid-smelling and awe-inspiring flowers in the world is set to bloom and exude its pungent scent within the next few days of Sept. at Foster Botanical Garden.

The rare Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the “Corpse flower,” could bloom as early as Sunday, Sept. 15 within the botanical garden’s Orchid Conservatory.

Plant specialists, who are closely monitoring the bloom, say that the plant normally opens in the afternoon, is in full bloom at night and finishes the bloom two days later. The first 24 hours are the “smelliest,” when the stench emitted by the flower is strongest.

As a result of the limited opportunity, the hours of operation for Foster Botanical Garden have been extended. The garden will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15 and Monday, Sept. 16.

“Last year we were blessed to have five of our 10 ‘Corpse flower’ specimens bloom and stink up our conservatory to the delight of hundreds of visitors,” said Joshlyn Sand, Honolulu Botanical Garden director. “This year we were hoping to get at least one bloom in our collection, so we are so pleased to be able to share this unique plant with everyone. This will likely be the only bloom for this year, so we truly encourage the public to come down and experience the stink while it lasts!”

A special hotline has been established to provide the latest news on this particular bloom: (808) 768-7125. You can also follow Honolulu Botanical Gardens and Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation on social media for the latest information.

An endangered species native to Sumatra, Indonesia, Amorphophallus titanum is a short-lived flower that only blooms once every two to five years. It is the largest unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom. Contributing to this plant’s exotic allure is the bloom’s strong stench, which serves to attract the carrion beetle which pollinates the flower.

In cultivation, the Amorphophallus titanum generally requires seven to 10 years of vegetative growth before blooming for the first time.

While in the Orchid Conservatory, check out dozens of other beautiful flower specimens, including:

  • Leopard orchids
  • Spider orchids
  • Blood lilies
  • Amaryllis

Foster Botanical Garden is located at 50 North Vineyard Boulevard, and is the oldest of the city’s botanical gardens. The garden displays a mature and impressive collection of tropical plants. Some of the magnificent trees in this 14-acre garden were planted in the 1850s by Dr. William Hillebrand. The garden also includes a palm collection, the Lyon Orchid Garden, hybrid orchid display, the Prehistoric Glen, and a gift shop.

Cost for admission at Foster Garden is as follows:

  • General – $5 
  • 13 years and older – $3
  • Hawai‘i resident 13 years and older with ID –  $1 
  • Child 6 to 12 years old – free
  • Child 5 years old and under (must be with adult) – free

Foster Botanical Garden is normally open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except on Christmas and New Year’s Day when the garden is closed.

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