Rare Corpse Flowers Bloomed In Chicago

Posted: Jun 4 2017, 8:34am CDT | by , Updated: Jun 4 2017, 8:40am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Rare Corpse Flowers Bloomed in Chicago
Photo Credit: Getty Images

It takes up to 10 years for one corpse plant to flower

Two giant corpse flowers have bloomed up at Chicago Botanic Garden and they have attracted many visitors despite the strong unpleasant odor coming from them.

A single fully bloomed corpse flower is rare in itself, but even more unusual is the fact that two flowers have bloomed in the same place simultaneously.

“Having twin corpse flowers both bloom at the same time is very rare.” Greg Mueller, chief scientist at the botanic garden said.

Corpse flowers, also known as titan arum, naturally occur in just one place on Earth – the Indonesian island of Sumatra and they can grow up to 7 feet tall. The flower was first discovered in Sumatra in 1878 by Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari.

The rare tropical flower blooms just once in ten years and last only 24 to 36 hours. Corpse flower, as its name suggests, smells bad. It is similar to that of rotten flesh and there is a good reason for the plant's strong odor. The smell is meant to attract dung beetles, flesh flies and other carnivorous insects. The insects think that the flower may be food and lay their eggs on it but then realize there is nothing to eat. However, the process helps the corpse flower to get pollinated. The flower also favors high heat and humidity and requires large space to flourish itself.

Corpse flower is listed as “vulnerable” on UCN Red List of Threatened Plants. They are mainly threatened by deforestation and habitat loss. The flower could become endangered if the trend continues and conservation efforts are not improved. However, botanic gardens around the world are cultivating and preserving them.

"Every time one of these plants blooms, it provides another opportunity to learn more about their life history, which we would never learn unless we were in the jungle islands of Sumatra," said Pati Vitt, a senior scientist at garden. "This is a wonderful experience."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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