University of Wisconsin-Madison's titan arum - or "corpse plant" - is, at this writing, in full bloom, but the time to see and smell the rare, foul-smelling plant is limited.
Titan Arum, translated, means "The Giant." It started blooming Thursday afternoon and will stay open for only 24 to 48 hours before the bloom suddenly collapses.
A steady stream of people have been stopping by UW-Madison's D.C. Smith Greenhouse to see it. Greenhouse Director Johanna Oosterwyk says that's for good reason: "Because it's unique and rare. Because you can tell people that you saw it. It's exotic. From the jungle and the rain forest, and it's huge. The inflorescence gets to be eight feet tall and it's not something you see every day."
But, she says, many people come for what the plant is most known for - its off-putting smell. Oosterwyk says, "It's like rotting meat, rotting vegetation. There are people who walk in and immediately start holding their noses. I liken it to [when] you walk into a kitchen and [think]: 'oh yeah, I put a meat carton in the trash last night, and it was a hot night. It's time to take out the trash.'"
The UW's flower last bloomed in 2010, the same year department staff nicknamed the plant "Dennis," after their former colleague Dennis Stimart, who had recently passed away.
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UW's greenhouse is located on the corner of Babcock and Linden Drives on the UW-Madison Campus, and will stay open until nine o'clock tonight to accommodate people who want to see the plant before it closes. There's also a webcam that's live-streaming the Titan Arum online at http://www.uwex.edu/ics/stream/session.cfm?eid=76080&sid=76081.
Directions to the greenhouse below:
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