The beauty of rotting flesh: Why you should visit the corpse flower this year.
January 31, 2021
Written by Stefanie von Thelen Newton
The Corpse Flower – or Amorphophallus titanum – is native flora to Sumatra and Borneo. The flower is most known for the
horrendous odour it gives off while blooming.
The flower can reach heights of up to 12 feet. Currently, the tallest of this species was measured at approximately 10.2 feet, and
bloomed in 2010 at Winnipesaukee Orchids, in New Hampshire.
Read more about the tallest Corpse flower at livescience.com.
In peak germination, the flower can exceed 6 inches of growth per
day. Once its growth begins to slow down, herbarium curators know the flower is ready to bloom
The Corpse Flower loves the heat, which is what aids in the
production of the foul smell it omits. It has been described as
having the scents of garlic, onions, mothballs, feces, and most
notably, rotting flesh.
Watch this time-lapse of a blooming Corpse Flower at the Toronto Zoo last year: youtube.com.
This year, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario, will have the privilege of showing off their Corpse Flower, as it blooms in late 2021. As was seen at the Toronto Zoo this past season, the hours of the Royal Botanical Gardens will be extended to those who wish to visit the Corpse Flower during the night, when it is most fragrant. After its first bloom between 7 and 10 years of age, the Corpse Flower will only bloom every 4 to 10 years after that. The blooming cycle lasts up to 36 hours, with its rotten smell becoming worse during the night from midnight to 4:00am.
The RBG will be allowing a limited number of people at any given time to enter the greenhouse, to breathe in the Corpse Flower. They will be adhering to COVID-19 restrictions, and to view the flower, an additional ticket and time slot must be purchased. Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on their website to learn more about booking your visiting time.
Reserve your time slot to visit the Corpse Flower here.
Ayers, E. (2020, August 21). What It’s Like to Care for the Mighty ‘Corpse Flower’. Atlas
Obscura. Retrieved from https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/corpse-flower-botanicalgarden
Bradford, A. (2017, May 31). Corpse Flower: Facts About the Smelly Plant. Live Science.
Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/51947-corpse-flower-facts-about-the-smellyplant.html.
Gill, N. (2020, August 10). The Toronto Zoo’s corpse flower hit peak bloom and ‘downright
offensive’ smell last night. TRNTO. Retrieved from https://trnto.com/toronto-zoo-corpseflower/
National Geographic (Producer). (2013, July 24). The Corpse Flower: Behind the Stink |
National Geographic [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luK5ulLBr8&ab_channel=NationalGeographic
Rocca, R. (2020, August 09). Toronto Zoo extends hours as corpse flower blooms for 2nd time.
Global News. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/7261558/toronto-zoo-corpseflower/
Royal Botanical Gardens. (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions. RBG. Retrieved from
Royal Botanical Gardens. (n.d.). Plan Your Visit. RBG. Retrieved from https://www.rbg.ca/planyour-visit/admission/general-admission/
Royal Botanical Gardens. (n.d.). Supernatural Botany and Halloween. RBG. Retrieved from
Toronto Zoo (Producer). (2020, September 14). Vincent Van Gross – Toronto Zoo Corpse
Flower Bloom [Video file]. Retrieved from