Memphis Botanic Garden acquires corpse flower

A fully grown corpse flower (Source: YouTube)
A fully grown corpse flower (Source: YouTube)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Botanic Garden has a new addition: the famed corpse flower.

The flower, which they've lovingly named Hank, is two years old and has yet to bloom for the first time.

Corpse flowers need to mature to at least seven years to bloom for the first time, and after that re-bloom about once every three years.

Another corpse flower was recently in the news, as one in Tuscon recently bloomed.

The corpse flower is named after its odor, which is said to smell like rotting flesh. It smells that way in order to attract flies that help pollinate the flower.

"It attracts carrion flies and they pollinate it. If you know carrion, it's dead animal," Memphis Botanic Garden Assistant Director of Horticulture Kyle McLane said.

The corpse flower is also the largest unbranched flower in the plant kingdom.

Hank was donated to Memphis Botanic Garden by a gardener in Savannah, Tennessee.

Visitors who dare to take a whiff of Hank's stinky bloom will have to wait several more years.

"It takes seven to ten years from a seedling to where it will flower the first time, and then it may be three to five years after that--up to 10 years--before it will flower again," McLane said.

Hank will be available to see at Memphis Botanic Garden for one week starting May 1. After that, it will not typically be on public display as it grows to full size.

Hank, a native of Indonesian rainforests, stands at four feet tall and has doubled in size in the past few months. Corpse flowers can grow up to 12 feet tall.

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