Endangered plant named morphy starts to smell like a burning cigar at Ivy League college but far worse whiffs lie in store at the weekend
A giant endangered corpse flower that got its nickname from its putrid smell started to bloom on Friday for the first time since 2011.
Named Morphy, the titan arum housed at Dartmouth College began opening on Friday afternoon at the Ivy League colleges life sciences greenhouse. The 7 -foot (2.3-metre) flower is expected to be fully open on Saturday before it starts to collapse the next day.
The college in New Hampshire has even set up a webcam to enable people to monitor its progress.
Morphy has a long pointy stalk with a skirt-like covering. Its green on the outside and deep red on the inside when it opens.
Kim DeLong, the greenhouse manager at Dartmouth, said Morphy was starting to smell like a burning cigar on Friday afternoon. At full strength, its odor has been described as a cross between a decaying animal and urine.
DeLong said she was planning to pollinate the flower on Saturday, using two paintbrushes and tweezers.
Way down on the bottom, were going to cut a hole. Its not going to hurt the plant. And then were going to collect pollen and pollinate the female flowers, and hopefully were going to get seeds in a year, once they mature, DeLong said.
The idea is to share seeds and pollen with other conservatories, parks and greenhouses around the world, she said.
Titan arum is native to Sumatras equatorial rainforests and is among the most popular flowers when it blooms. DeLong said it is endangered because of deforestation to make room for palm oil plantations.
We want to do what we can to try to save it, she said.
The greenhouse will be open from 8am to midday on Saturday, and from 10am to 3pm on Sunday.