Corpse Flower
Caption +

Photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens. 

Show MoreShow Less

Stinky, one of the Denver Botanic Gardens’ notorious corpse flowers, might bloom in September, with only a 24-hour window to take in the rare sight — and smell.

The plant, which is native to the rainforests of western Sumatra, gives off a rancid smell like a rotting corpse when it blooms.

Stinky, which is about 18 years old, last bloomed in August 2015, the first corpse flower bloom in the Gardens’ history. Another corpse flower, Little Stinker, bloomed there in 2016.

Stinky will grow to be more than 5 feet tall, the Gardens’ website says.

Horticulturalists are measuring it daily, and because the corm is larger than in 2015, they believe it will be taller and bloom larger this time.

There’s still a chance the bloom won’t be successful, but it’s expected to bloom in early- to mid-September, the website says. It can be seen in the Orangery greenhouse, adjacent to Marnie’s Pavilion.

“The potency of the aroma increases from late evening until the middle of the night and tapers off as morning arrives,” the website says.

“It will not smell until it blooms. The smell is produced to attract flies and carrion beetles for pollination. While blooming, the spadix (the large spike) warms to 98 degrees, further vaporizing the odor and increasing the range from which pollinators are attracted.”

The facility typically is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., but on the bloom day, members can enter at 8 a.m.

To get a “bloom alert,” sign up for the Gardens’ newsletter.


Ellie is a crime and breaking news reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

Load comments