'Putrid' corpse flower expected to bloom soon | KUOW News and Information

'Putrid' corpse flower expected to bloom soon

Aug 25, 2016

Volunteer Park has a fragrant new tenant. 

The University of Washington Biology Department has loaned the Volunteer Park Conservatory a so-called corpse flower that emits an odor reminiscent of a decaying body. 

A corpse flower is a relative of the calla lily, and it is one of the largest flowers in the world. 

The compounds of the flower's smell have been analyzed by scientists, and according to University of Washington Biology Greenhouse attendant Terry Huang, the smell is a combination of old gym socks, rotten onions and fecal matter. 

"Imagine that all slurried together and you have this wonderful concoction of putridness," Huang said. 

It is an incredibly rare plant that hails from the rainforests of Sumatra, an island in Indonesia. Huang said the plant emits this smell in order to attract pollinators. 

Dougsley, the corpse flower in Volunteer Park, is expected to bloom sometime next week. 

"It's incredible that you can wait up to 10 years for this thing to bloom, and the flower just lasts 2-3 days and it collapses and then that's it," Huang said.