Scentennial, The Huntington's Corpse Flower, Soon to Stink

It's go time,and hold-the-nose time, for this tall and stunning specimen.

What to Know

  • The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
  • San Marino
  • With paid admission

Think of the word "centennial" and several impressions and images may instantly spring to mind.

You may think of a party with plenty of pomp, or an event boasting oodles of elegant touches, or a splendid affair full of speeches, fancy outfits, and cut-crystal goblets full of Champagne.

What you doesn't come to mind? Something stinky. Something that reeks. Something that seems rancid. And something that grows so quickly its daily push skyward has to be recorded, inch by inch, on a nearby whiteboard.

It's a corpse flower we're talking about here, but it isn't just any amorphophallus titanum we're mooning over. We're singing the praises of Scentennial, the first corpse flower to bloom at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens during its centennial year. 

For corpse flowers are pretty rare, and the chance to see one, and moreover sniff one, is an opportunity that only comes along now and then.

And "now and then" has definitely arrived, for Scentennial began to open up on Wednesday, July 24.

Or rather, Scentennial's spathe, or the "petal-like outer covering," started to spread, revealing its "velvety maroon interior." And, yes, stench-y character.

This is a day or two earlier than initial projections had placed its possible opening, so corpse flower fans better get over to the San Marino gardens in the next day or so.

For the bloom of this unusual specimen doesn't ever last for long.

You can read more about Scentennial's journey on this page, and there's live streaming, too.

And if you're a Huntington member, do stop by on the evening of July 24 to see its pinch-your-nose progress. Non-members are invited back to admire Scentennial on July 25.

Viewing is included with admission to the landmark.

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