Will Spike the corpse flower actually bloom this time?
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At least there’s one flower getting ready to bloom during Chicago’s cold spring.
Spike, the Chicago Botanic Garden corpse flower, is once again shooting up and getting ready to emit its pungent, rancid odor that draws crowds of botany-enthusiasts and hungry insects.
“The whole thing smells like rotting meat because it attracts flies and beetles which normally feed on dead animals,” conservation scientist Pat Herendeen said. “So they think they’re coming for a nice fresh dead animal and instead they get fooled, they pick up pollen and take it to another one.”
The Garden has a livestream set up for viewers not so fond of the odor of decay.
The corpse flower, scientifically known as Amorphophallus Titanum, or “giant deformed penis plant,” was expected to bloom in 2015, but disappointingly failed. It would have been the first corpse flower to bloom in the Chicago area, and drew a crowd of 75,000 visitors.
Since then, the Garden has grown its rare collection to 14 corpse flowers, five of which have bloomed.
“The flower is so unusual, it really is rare and one of a kind, from Indonesia, so people are really interested,” Gloria Ciaccio, Chicago Botanic Garden spokeswoman said.
Since Spike’s bloom dysfunction, the flower was moved, repotted and has been collecting energy to build up for its next bloom. Though it normally takes three to five years for a corpse flower to “recharge,” Spike caught the Garden caretakers by surprise.
Spike has grown 10 inches since April 14th, and is now more than four feet tall, but it could still have a long way to grow. The Garden’s biggest corpse flower almost reached seven feet.