Rotten meat, moldy potatoes, an alleyway, a dead mouse and a vet’s euthanization chamber are some descriptive phrases uttered by people flocking to Good Earth Garden Center in Colorado Springs and getting their noses close to the Amorphophallus konjac.
The odoriferous plant, better known as the corpse flower, is a rarity in the botanical world, and that’s why Good Earth, a nursery at 1330 N. Walnut St., obtained one three years ago.
This is the first time it has bloomed.
Friday was day three, and it’s hard to say how long the flower will last, said Wayne Fisher, who owns the store with son Kyle.
“We think it will be done by the end of the weekend, but even that’s not a given,” he said.
The plant emits a foul smell when it’s blooming to attract flies, which pollinate the plant, said April Slawson, a supervisor who was on corpse flower duty Friday.
About 150 people have stopped by over the past few days to get a whiff of the corpse flower, which Fisher dubbed “Little Stinky.” The Springs plant is a miniature compared with the one at Denver Botanical Gardens, which grows to 9 feet tall and 3 feet across.
Good Earth’s plant is 3 feet tall and less than a foot wide.
But when it breaks wind, Little Stinky is mighty.
“You can smell it across the room sometimes,” Slawson said.
Young and old alike feel drawn to edge closer to the plant stationed in the indoor section of the nursery — until they detect the odd smell.
“It’s definitely unusual,” Fisher said.
The species is known to bloom every 10 years, although the one at Good Earth is thought to be about 7 years old.
The plant is native to China and cultivated in subtropical to tropical eastern Asia, from Japan and China south to Indonesia.
The corm, which is like a large bulb, is edible and often made into jelly or used in Chinese medicine.
Little Stinky is a store pet, Slawson said, and is not for sale.
“We love plants and having a variety,” she said. “We wanted to see what it could do.”
It took 19 days for the corm to emerge from the soil to its height of 3 feet, Slawson said.
The plant grows a stalk every year and unfurls a canopy of green leaves, but it only stinks when it blooms.
“It pushes the smell out to attract flies,” Slawson said, adding that it’s hard to tell exactly where the smell comes from inside the flower.
Already, the flower is dying. Fisher said green foliage develops after the flower recharges the corm through photosynthesis, much like a battery, so it can bloom again.
Good Earth is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday.
Contact the writer: 719-476-1656