Stinky ‘Corpse Flower' Finally Blooms at Cal State Long Beach

The so-called "Corpse Flower" has finally bloomed at Cal State Long Beach.

The 4-foot cluster of flowers was expected to unfurl May 22 or May 23, revealing not only its colorful maroon interior but it's even more notorious smell, similar to that of decomposing animals and vegetables. But it held out until now.

Brian Thorson, the botanical curator and botany technician at Cal State Long Beach for the Department of Biological Sciences, announced the news Sunday.

"#PhilWatch Phil says rise and shine, today's the big day! Phil is finally stinking blooming!" Thorson tweeted. "He will be on display from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm today. On campus, between the HSCI & MLSC buildings.Come get a whiff!"

Thorson nicknamed the campus corpse lily "Phil," after Dr. Philip Baker, a late professor of botany.

Thorson said Baker "was still alive when I acquired the specimens and I told him, and we had a good laugh about it. He was tickled and flattered."

Giant corpse flowers bloom every seven to 15 years, for only about 24 hours. Once it is done blooming it will go through a short period of dormancy before it can shoot up a large 20-foot-tall leaf that looks like a tree.

The flower was first displayed in the United States in 1937 at the New York Botanical Garden.

But it's not the sort of plant you'd want to bring home.

"The smell is so overwhelming that you can only be exposed in close quarters for a few minutes," Thorson said.

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