They’re making a stink at Rollins College, but students from kids to adults are still making their way to the greenhouse to get a whiff.
The college grows two Amorphophallus Titanum, also known as “Corpse Plants,” that are in bloom. The timing couldn’t be worse, students at Rollins College are taking exams in the same building of the plants known to exert nasty smell.
The public is not encouraged to visit the greenhouse during this time, as students are in exams and can be disruptive. You can check out the progress of the plants through this LIVESTREAM. News 6 got to visit when one of the two “Corpse Plants” was in bloom.
We don’t know what’s better: seeing the rare plant, or people-watching and witnessing the hilarious expressions on their faces as they got a whiff of the “Corpse Plants.”
“There’s only about 1,000 of them left in the wild so they’re very rare plants,” said greenhouse manager Alan Chryst. “Its first bloom takes about 10 years, so to have one bloom is a rarity and to have two bloom is almost momentous.”
Chryst has the green thumb that has bloomed the corpse plants several times before, since acquiring the seeds in 2004. The stenchy achievement attracted the attention of Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Chryst was featured in one of its books.
“I love to watch the people and expressions on their faces when they come in and smell it,” said Chryst.
(So do we!)
News 6 Insider Guide Crystal Moyer was there as kids and college students made their way to the greenhouse to view, and smell, the main attraction. Some kids held their noses as they entered.
What do “Corps Plants” smell like? It depends on who you ask. Here are some of the responses we got from students who visited the plants.
- “Smells like pee-ew!”
- “Rotting flesh”
- “Decaying lettuce”
- “Mild fertilizer”
- “Rotting fish”
- “It has a fruity smell to it...” (Yes, someone said that!)
“I tell people, it smells like Florida roadkill, in the middle of summer, that’s been there for a few days,” said Chryst.
Believe it or not, there’s a strategic reason for the foul odor.
“All this, the color and stinkiness. It’s all about reproduction. It’s trying to attract the pollinators which are beetles and flies and they’re attracted to the stench of rotting meat,” said Chryst.
And if the plant is lucky, with pollination it will produce seeds and survive to bloom in another few years. The plants can grow as tall as 12 feet. The catch? The bloom only lasts about a day.
“It’s so fleeting. All this effort and it opens around three in the afternoon, fully opens at midnight and by 6 a.m. it’s over. The smell is most potent during the first few hours when it blooms. Then it starts closing up and it’s over. I really enjoy sharing it with others,” said Chryst.
If you’re wondering, Chryst did name the plants. The one that bloomed first is named Adsila which is Native American for “bloom.” The second one is expected to bloom shortly after and is named Racine which is French for “root.”
You can check out the corpse plants through Rollins College’s livestream.