The corpse flower is found naturally only in the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. With the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, the corpse flower’s name comes from the repulsive scent it emits during the hours after it blooms.
Outside of Sumatra, O'Brien said there are probably a few hundred of the plants cultivated worldwide. The only others in Minnesota are at the Como Conservatory, plants given by Gustavus. He said deforestation for agriculture is threatening the plant.
The flower will live for about 40 years and is not particularly difficult to grow, O'Brien said. "Other than it really takes a lot of space."
Gustavus has a few other corpse plants started with blooming stages uncertain. "We'll probably have an open house whenever one blooms," O'Brien said. "People like seeing them."
Visiting hours for the public continue from 12-8 p.m. Friday. It is in the Alfred Nobel Hall of Science on the third floor.
A live webcam of the flower can be found at: gustavus.edu/biology/titanarum/.