The Corpse Flower's Smell

The Corpse Flower's Smell

"Corpse Flower" is the nickname of the enormous titan arum. This plant uses a horrible stench to attract beetles and flies—who are drawn to rotting flesh because that's where they lay eggs—for pollination. The flower only blooms for a single night every 3-10 years, and during this process it reaches temperatures around 90°F (32°C) to help the odor spread.

03:20

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    "Corpse flower" is a direct translation of Amorphophallus titanum's Indonesian name. (0:33)

  • 2

    The corpse flower emits its malodorous chemicals to attract its pollinators. (1:28)

  • 3

    The isovaleric acid in the corpse flower produces a smell similar to that of old sweatsocks. (2:16)

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