Smell It: Corpse Flower at Orange Coast College

Can you smell it from where you're sitting? It's happening in Costa Mesa.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Corpse Flower
    Corpse Flowers, like the elegant example pictured, experience rare blooms, big stenches, and some very curious crowds. The Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa has one.

    Many a family member has pulled a carton of milk out of the refrigerator, sniffed it, made a face, then pushed the carton our way with a demand that we "smell this."

    Um, no, right? We trust them, typically, to know when the milk has gone sour. We want nothing to do with that curdled carton. We may even step away while making a pained face.

    But there is a stench many people do not step away from, but rather toward. And not just toward but they'll drive to smell it, sometimes several hours. We speak of the fabled Corpse Flower, that rare and beautiful botanical wonder that opens its huge, huge petals every so often to the public's delight and, um, yes, occasional plugging of the nose and/or mild gagging.

    The Amorphophallus Titanum plant -- that's the official name on the Corpse Flower's business card -- is currently set to bloom at Orange Coast College Horticultural Department in Costa Mesa. Nope, if you're down wind, say, in Fullerton, you won't catch the foul fragrance: You've got to be there to smell it.

    Be there when it opens, rather. A prediction came near the end of the week that the weekend of July 20-22 might be Go Time, in terms of the flower's oh-so-brief bloom, but the Corpse cam says that things are getting a tad pokey.

    You can admire the flower's fierce and over-sized beauty here, live.

    And as for "Go Time"? That can last a day or two, max, so if you do want to sniff what is said to be the worst-smelling plant on the planet -- subjective, we know, but it is good to be the best at something -- then don't dawdle. Make for Orange Coast College on June 22, when the public is welcome to check it out.

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