Lonely Planet Writer

Catch a pungent whiff of a rare corpse flower expected to bloom at a garden in Texas

A rare corpse flower is expected to soon bloom at the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid in Galveston, Texas, giving travellers a chance to catch a whiff of the unusual and stinky plant.

"Morticia" the Corpse Flower as shown in this picture from her first bloom in 2012.
“Morticia” the Corpse Flower as shown in this picture from her first bloom in 2012. Image by Moody Gardens

The garden is expecting its giant corpse flower to open up and share its pungent smell any day now, which will be only the second bloom for that particular plant, which is named Morticia.

Corpse flowers, which are native to Sumatra, Indonesia, are famous for emitting the stench of rotting flesh when flowering in order to attract pollinators and carrion beetles. According to the Moody Gardens, the flowers bloom infrequently in their natural habitat and even less so in cultivation and always tend to draw in crowds of flower enthusiasts and curious visitors wherever they are.

The bloom will be only the fifth to ever occur in Texas and the gardens will be extending its operating hours during the plant’s bloom so travellers can catch a sight – and a whiff – of the flower in action. The opportunity often causes a lot of excitement, as it is difficult to predict when a plant will bloom, as it can happen between two and 10 year intervals and may not bloom at all.

If you aren’t in Texas but are curious to take a look, Moody Gardens has a live stream video feed of the plant as they await the bloom – but unfortunately a video won’t be able to capture the famous and terrible smell.