Huge, Rotten, Rare!

This past weekend, we escaped to the windy city of Chicago to celebrate Wifey’s birthday.  Like most visits, we traveled North of the city to the Chicago Botanical Gardens.  We have journeyed to the gardens for over 10 years and it has become more breathtaking with each visit.

In no time, our creative juices started flowing!  Over the years, we have learned to have a notebook and pencil in hand, at all times, for we always end up with a new list of must have plants and many creative garden design ideas!  Some might think it would be extremely dangerous to send two woman to Chicago shopping…try sending these two woman to a 40-year-old garden, that spreads over 385 acres!  Now that is DANGEROUS!

This visit had a bit of a “stinky” bonus…The Twin Corpse Flowers!   Java and Sumatra are the latest titan arums to go on “bloom watch” at the botanical gardens. A corpse flower in bloom is rare and takes ten years of careful cultivation.  As a part of a worldwide conservation effort, the Chicago Botanical Gardens began collecting titan arums in 2003. This huge flower is native to the rainforests in Sumatra, Indonesia.   These two corpse flowers were given their names after islands of Indonesia.

We missed the bloom by a day.

The corpse flower is extremely fast to flower.  Flowering often starts in the afternoon.  By night, the stench of rotting flesh becomes overpowering.


By daybreak, the odor begins to dissipate and it’s time for the flower to release  pollen, coating insects that have gathered.  The flower quickly closes within 24-48 hours. In 6-12 months, after successful pollination, berry-like seeds form.  Native birds feed on the berries, thus spreading the seeds.

A corpse flower in its natural habitat.  Photo courtesy of the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

Enjoy this time-lapse video of the blooming corpse flower, courtesy of the Chicago Botanical Gardens…


This was a once in a lifetime moment!   We were elated to have experienced these rare and magical beauties!  But, I have to admit, after this stinky encounter, we were ready to stick our noses into something with a much more pleasant scent!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…






14 thoughts on “Huge, Rotten, Rare!

    1. You Will need to add it to one of your stories. It did not even look real! And the smell was horrible. I can’t imagine what the smell was like the day before. My nose is still recovering!


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