Today's the Day to Get Whiff of Corpse Flower

From Times Staff Reports

Fullerton Arboretum's famous corpse flower finally bloomed Sunday about 3:30 p.m., exciting arboretum workers who argued for several minutes before agreeing that the plant had indeed begun to unfurl.

"It's hard to tell when it's first blooming, so there was some disagreement," said Janet Van Diest, a Cal State Fullerton spokeswoman for the arboretum. "But it has unfurled about four inches, and we noticed this pretty maroon color on the inside."

About 20 spectators witnessed the blooming of titan arum, which is native to the rain forests of central Sumatra in Indonesia. The plant is recognizable not only by sight but smell. The flower won its common name because the full bloom smells like rotting flesh, Van Diest said.

The bloom lasts three days, but the stench lasts a day.

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