‘Stinky’ blooms at Denver Botanic Gardens


More than 11,000 people visited the Denver Botanic Gardens over Labor Day weekend to see the nonprofit’s special exhibit: a corpse flower that blooms once every three to 10 years.

On the Thursday afternoon before Labor Day weekend, staff at the Denver Botanic Gardens annouced that “Stinky,” a 53-inch flower, was blooming.

Corpse flowers are native to Sumatra, an island off the coast of Indonesia. The flower emits a smell similar to rotting meat to attract pollinators. The reddish-purple color on the inside of the flower also attracts insects.

Staff estimated the flower is about 20 years old. It bloomed for the first time in August 2015. A corpse flower blooms for the first time in its first 15 to 20 years. After that, it blooms every three to 10 years. The bloom, and subsequent smell, only last for 24 to 48 hours.

At the Denver Botanic Gardens, Stinky and a smaller corpse flower nicknamed “Little Stinky,” are in a greenhouse that controls their environment such as temperature and humidity.

The first time Stinky bloomed, the gardens saw 22,000 visitors over two days. At the time, staff were afraid to move the flower out of its enclosed greenhouse space. Instead, they removed some of the glass so viewers could come see Stinky.

This time, staff brought the flower out on a wheeled cart into the main area of the greenhouse and opened the doors to let its smell drift out and bring in viewers.

Linda and Ken Walczyk came from north Denver to see the flower. Ken said the smell was not what the couple expected. Linda said it was their first time seeing the flower.

“It’s one of those little minor check-offs on the bucket list,” she said.


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