Rare, awful-smelling plant dubbed ‘The Amazing Stinko’ should bloom soon; Lauritzen Gardens celebrating with free admission | Living

They call it “The Amazing Stinko,” but you can call it “the corpse flower,” if you’d rather. Flower nerds prefer Amorphophallus titanum or titan arum.

But when you catch a whiff, it won’t matter what you call it. Everyone recoils the same.

It’s regarded as one of the world’s most repulsive-smelling plants. And one is ready to bloom in Omaha any day now.

You can find it at Lauritzen Gardens, inside the Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory. There, in front of the fountain, an intimidating botanical goliath awaits. It’s hard to miss; the plant is surrounded by circus-style banners.

When it opens, the corpse flower emits three smells: First, rotting fruit. Then, rotting flesh. Finally, fish.

“Very appetizing,” joked Leticia Loza, the tropical conservatory gardener who cares for The Amazing Stinko.

It’s also very rare.

Its bloom has been observed about 200 times in history, according to the botanical garden. In the U.S., that number is a few dozen. In Nebraska, this will be the first on public display.

To celebrate, Lauritzen Gardens is offering free admission starting Sunday and ending when the plant stops blooming. The garden will stay open five hours later, opening from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays until The Amazing Stinko stops stinking.

Four years ago, the rare Sumatran plant almost bloomed at Lauritzen Gardens.

In preparation for the event, the garden printed circus banners, created a Stinko plant Twitter account and put up a tent to try to control conditions. But the plant never bloomed.

This time, it’s for real, gardeners say.

The plant now lives in a conservatory, which hadn’t been built in 2013. Stinko is already bigger, wider and further along than in 2013 — it has doubled from 27 inches tall to 52 in the past week.

“We can control temperature, we can control humidity and we can give it everything it needs,” said Mia Jenkins, director of marketing at Lauritzen Gardens.

If it happens, the bloom will likely go down sometime in the next week. When it does, the botanical garden expects people to swarm. Blooms at other gardens have drawn thousands, Jenkins said.

Here’s how it should unfold: Its purple spadix will stand tall and strong while the leaf-like spathe will unfurl, revealing hundreds of flowers and unleashing the unforgiving odiferous goodies.

That stink is supposed to attract pollinators, like dung beetles and flesh flies. In captivity, it’s known for attracting human beings.

Peter Volenec-Hamel, a senior gardener at Lauritzen Gardens, said he is willing to stay overnight to watch it bloom.

“It’s amazing when it happens, how the colors change,” he said. “It smells bad, but it’s really beautiful.”

Staff says it’s impossible to predict when the corpse flower might bloom. For…

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