Smell This: Stinky the Corpse Flower's Back, San Marino

Plug your nose, SoCal; the Huntington is about to get mighty odoriferous.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Huntington
    Stinky the Corpse Flower is back at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Make that the fifth Stinky, actually. Want a whiff? The bloom is predicted for Aug. 20 through 23.

    Another day, another rare Amorphophallus titanum ready to bloom and stinkify the air in its general vicinity, right? 

    Well, not quite. The so-called Corpse Flower is not your garden variety carnation -- sorry, carnations, you actually rock and deserve a renaissance -- and it doesn't come along all that often.

    Exhibit A? Our own world-class Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, the ultimate cream of the unusual blossom-possessing crop in many flower fans' eyes, has only housed four Corpse Flowers, ever.

    Make that five: Stinky 5 is currently holding court at the San Marino institution, and the flower's much-anticipated bloom is set to occur between Wednesday, Aug. 20 and Saturday, Aug. 23.

    If you know the gargantuan and elegantly eerie Corpse Flower, you know this: It does not wear a wristwatch and it shall not be rushed into blooming before it is good and ready to do so. Also know this: When it finally does open it up, its foul whiff shall cause many a face to contort.

    Prepare, noses of Southern California.

    Stinky 5 -- or, if you prefer, Stinky the Fifth, which seems more suitable, given the royal subject matter of many of The Huntington's paintings -- is currently passing its pre-blooming, anticipation-building time in The Conservatory. Want to keep tabs? Instagram and Twitter are your tab-keeping go-tos. Look for frequent updates, fun photos, and such.

    Amorphophallus titanum is "(n)ative to the equatorial rain forests of Sumatra" and "can reach more than 6 feet in height," says the institution. The plant "can also go many years without blooming," so the anticipation in the soon-to-be-stinky air is, yes, palpable.

    A few other Corpse Flowers have called upon our neck of the woods over the last year or so, including specimens in Santa Barbara and Costa Mesa.

    The Huntington is also posting a daily height watch here, so that's fun, if you like strange flowers with wicked odors that are rare as all get-out. And who doesn't?

    And, seriously, flower people: Can't we give carnations a chance? Not ironically, either. None of us will ever wear a Corpse Flower corsage, meaning carnations deserve a little more respect.