Get ready for the stink! Rare corpse flower currently in bloom at Meijer Gardens

Meijer Gardens is extending their hours, so you get a chance to sniff West Michigan’s stinkiest flower.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Get your sniffers ready! West Michigan’s stinkiest flower is in bloom for a short time only.

After weeks of waiting, the corpse flower at Frederik Meijer Gardens is finally blooming, officials said Monday afternoon.

Corpse flower blooms are rare, and they release a scent that many describe as decaying animals or rotting flesh. 

It was difficult to predict when the aptly-named corpse flower will bloom. Many don’t open up for years, while some have opened year after year. These unpredictable blooming patterns mean it’s a big deal when a flower blooms—especially because the blooms only last for about 24 to 36 hours, and can take up to a decade to produce.

The corpse flower at Meijer Gardens, lovingly called “The Beast” by the Grand Valley State University biology department, is on loan from the university. It first bloomed in 2022, and greenhouse supervisor Christina Hipshier said they were shocked to see it beginning to bloom again so soon.

“We are grateful for the help from Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in displaying The Beast,” she said. “Considering that this bloom is happening during a time when most students are not on campus, we are excited for the visibility that this collaboration will bring.”

Corpse flowers are not only stinky—they’re big! They can grow up to 10 feet tall and four feet wide. Its leaves can reach a whopping 20 feet in height and 16 feet across. Their pungent scent is intended to attract pollinators that are drawn to dead animals.

Meijer Gardens does have its own corpse flower named Putricia, which last bloomed in 2018. Steve LaWarre, Senior Vice President of Horticulture at Meijer Gardens, said they’re ecstatic to display another blooming corpse flower.

“This is an incredibly exciting and unique thing to experience,” said LaWarre. “Many people go through their entire careers never seeing an example like this in person.”

If you’re hoping to catch a whiff of the flower, you should plan on stopping by Meijer Gardens soon. It will be in full bloom by Tuesday, June 18. 

Staff said they’re extending hours until 7 p.m. on Monday and until 9 p.m. on Tuesday. 

The Beast is on display in the Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse and can be seen with general admission.

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