New York – The smell of death in the air at New York Botanical Garden drew crowds following the blooming of the corpse flower.
The roughly 5-foot tall flower has the formal name Amorphophallus titanum. Its smell is described as like that of a rotting body, or sometimes merely like dirty socks.
Hundreds of people stood in line Friday to see the flower at the New York Botanical Garden. The bloom only lasts a few days. The plant last bloomed in 2007.
Crowds flocked to the gardens to get a whiff of the flower and take photos with the plant.
So why does the corpse flower smell so awful? The flower shares some chemical compounds with Limburger cheese and human feces—all the better to attract the insects that feast on rotting flesh and help the plant to pollinate.
“Connoisseurs of rotting animals liken it to a rotting possum because possum tends to be on the fatty side,” said Devin Dotson, communications director at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. “You can feel the smell on your teeth,” he said.
Besides the New York plant, corpse flowers are on the cusp of unfurling their smelly blooms in Bloomington, Ind., St. Louis, Sarasota, Fla., and Washington, D.C.