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Rare corpse flower expected to bloom at CSU this Memorial Day weekend

Coloradans looking to get a whiff of this putrid flower will be able to do so for a very short time
cosmo the corpse flower_csu.png
Posted at 10:56 AM, May 23, 2024

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A moment eight years in the making is set to putrefy some folks in northern Colorado when a rare corpse flower blooms for the very first time this Memorial Day weekend.

Cosmo, the name of the corpse flower currently being housed at CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences’ Conservatory, is slated to bloom either Sunday or Monday, according to CSU spokesperson Tiana Kennedy, though timing could change.

The good news? A livestream of Cosmo the corpse flower is now available for anyone to view.

The even better news? Coloradans will be able to get a whiff of the putrid smell this plant emits once it blooms, but only for a very short time as the stench will become less pronounced after the first 12 to 24 hours (so if you’ve made plans, cancel them immediately).

CSU officials said the rare plant came out of dormancy around the beginning of May and while they were not expecting much action, it was its growth rate and the fact that it was shooting out stalks that made them realize “something really big was about to happen.”

“This is a rare occasion and a big deal because it will be the first bloom for the corpse flower here at CSU,” the university’s Plant Growth Facilities manager, Tammy Brenner, said Tuesday.


The rare flower, Amorphophallus titanum, can grow up to eight feet tall and emits an odor that has been described as the smell of rotting flesh, garbage and an old gym bag. Viewing a corpse flower is a very rare event, as seven to 10 years can pass between each bloom.

CSU officials said Cosmo the corpse flower won’t take that long to bloom again though, so all you curious amateur fragrance testers that can’t make it after it blooms this year should mark your calendars three to five years from now.

There is a huge caveat, though: There’s a slim chance Cosmo may not bloom at all.

“At the end of the day, plants are still unpredictable, but with the data we have, we’re eagerly awaiting the bloom,” Brenner said.

The last time a corpse flower bloomed in Colorado was in 2016, when “Little Stinker” attracted not only carrion beetles and flies, but hundreds of visitors who waited hours in line just to take in the peculiar smell at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

The corpse flower is native solely to western Sumatra, a large Indonesian island, where it grows in openings in rainforests on limestone hills, according to National Geographic.

Public viewings will happen at the Plant Growth Facility Conservatory at 1241 Libbie Coy Way in Fort Collins, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day the flower is in bloom.

Corpse flower blooms at Denver Botanic Gardens

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