Whiffy Wonder to Bloom at The Huntington

The grand gardens are in possession of an about-to-bloom Corpse Flower.

What to Know

  • The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
  • San Marino
  • See it with paid admission

Plant things, we absolutely do, all year long here in Southern California.

Vines and fruit trees and flowers and shrubs are all on our around-the-calendar list, and few roadblocks can prevent us from heading out to the yard with a bag of soil and flat of flowers in our arms.

But? Let's be truthful. The Dog Days of Summer, which we're currently experiencing as July rolls into August, can make fresh gardening projects a mite challenging.

There are those triple-digit afternoons, the scorchers that can make new buds whither, and there is that extreme sunshine, the kind that seems to heat your head, even through your garden hat.

Corpse Flowers don't care, though.

They don't want to hear about our heat issues or how we're weathering the dog days. They're just going to bloom away, if they please, and release the sublime stink that has become synonymous with their notable nickname.

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And one Corpse Flower, or Amorphophallus titanum, is doing just that at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.

Of course, these rare specimens don't just pop out of the ground and power on through sun and heat; they need a lot of TLC from botanists and plant pros to grow as tall as they do.

And the one in San Marino is very tall as July 2018 wraps, meaning that a petal-opening is due any day now. When those massive petals open, the Corpse Flower's whiffy gift shall be smelled by those who stand in its stately presence.

"Li'l Stinker" is this flower's moniker, and it is the sixth Corpse Flower to call upon the famous public gardens. And the "Li'l" part of the name? While Amorphophallus titanum is known for its height, this beauty is on the smaller side, says The Huntington.

Still, its stench is not likely to be small. Yay? Ick? Yay AND ick?

So go smell it, when it blooms, at The Conservatory at The Huntington. Best watch for when it finally opens, because it won't be open for long. Perhaps a couple of days at most, as is the Corpse Flower's way?

We are in the dog days of summer, when all things feel a bit sluggish. But don't delay if you've never beheld one of these fantastical blossoms from feet away.

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