Flower That Smells Like Dead Body Set to Bloom in Bronx for the First Time Since 1939


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New York Magazine

New York Magazine

If you visit New York City this week and wonder why it smells like death, for once, the subway might not be to blame.

At the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, the Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the corpse flower, is set to bloom any day now, unleashing an odor that many have compared to that of rotting flesh.


That would explain why people decided to give it the most metal name for a flower in history.

This event is particularly noteworthy, though, because the last time one of these flowers bloomed in New York City was 1939. Generally, it takes around a decade for the flower to bloom. When it does, its peak bloom rarely lasts longer than a day, after which time, the flower dies.

However, if you’re planning on taking a trip to the Bronx to see this historic event for yourself, just be aware that the last time this flower bloomed in the city, guests had to watch from a greenhouse. The smell was simply too strong to tolerate. Journalists who reported on the event at the time were also unimpressed with the flower’s appearance, which they described as “rather sinister.”

This may have marked the only time in history that someone called a flower “sinister.”

Its bad reputation didn’t stop officials from naming it as the official flower of the Bronx back in 1939, though. It wasn’t until the year 2000 they decided to change it to the day lily instead. It was an understandable choice.

If you can’t make it to the Bronx, but still want to see the flower bloom, the New York Botanical Gardens has set up a live camera feed, which you can watch below.


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