A big stink is about to be raised at California State University, Sacramento, where the aptly named corpse flower is expected to bloom.
The public will be invited to sniff the malodorous stench emitted from the bloom – a first for Sacramento State. UC Davis has had previous showings of its corpse flower in bloom, drawing crowds to the university to get a whiff of what has been described as rotting flesh.
Here are 10 edited answers from the university and Sacramento State’s greenhouse manager Michael Fong about the odoriferous oddity:
Q: What’s the scientific name for the corpse flower?
A: The corpse flower, a name well deserved, is botanically known as Amorphophallus titanium.
Q: What’s life like for the corpse flower?
A: The reproductive life cycle is peculiar. The plant spends early life as just a single leaf, while it redirects sugars to an underground storage organ, the tuber. This vegetative state lasts anywhere between seven to 15 years. Plants may flower after enough reserves have been directed to its tuber. However, floral production is unpredictable. The species can live 40 to 60 years but during this time may only flower four or five times.
Q: Why is it called the corpse flower?
A: The name is in reference to the manner with which it attracts a pollinator. Like other members in the family, blooms produce volatile compounds that often smell like rotting flesh.
Q: Where did Sacramento State get its plant?
A: UC Davis.
Q: How old is it?
A: 20 years.
Q: Can the public view it once it blooms?
A: Yes. It’s on display in the Sequoia Hall lobby, 6000 J St.
Q: How do you describe its smell?
A: Baby diapers and garbage.
Q: Does the plant have a nickname? Old Stinky?
A: Not yet.
Q: Why does it stink?
A: The stink is to attract its fly pollinators.
Q: When is it expected to bloom?
A: It’s estimated to bloom within 10 days. The flower only lasts 48 hours.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.