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The Amazing Stinko reaches 'peak stink'

Posted at 12:04 PM, Jul 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 16:20:24-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — There's something in the air at Lauritzen Gardens and it isn't pleasant.

The titan arum, a plant with an odor compared to rotting flesh, fruit, meat, fish or strong cheese, is on display at Lauritzen Gardens.

Sunday morning, Lauritzen Gardens announced the plant--dubbed The Amazing Stinko--has started to unfurl after its bloom cycle began 18 days ago. As the plant blooms, it emits the obnoxious odor that draws visitors in.

The titan arum typically remains in bloom for a short time, usually 24 to 48 hours. The plant then collapses quickly, giving visitors a limited time to take a sniff of the rare plant known to have the greatest stench on Earth.

Lauritzen Gardens says the name titan arum comes from its great size--known as the largest unbranched flower cluster in the world.

The Amazing Stinko is currently 88 inches tall with a circumference of 51.75 inches, considerably larger than the bloom in May 2017.

The titan arum is often referred to as the corpse flower, with its scent most pungent during peak bloom at night into the early morning.

The plant's inflorescence (a group of flowers arranged on a stem composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches) also generates heat, allowing the stench to travel further.

When in the wild, the combination of heat and smell attracts pollinators like flesh flies, dung beetles and carrion beetles from far away.

First discovered in 1878, the titan arum is native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. Blooms of the plant are rare both in the wild and in cultivation, Lauritzen Gardens says.

Titan arums have only recently been coaxed to bloom after many years of careful cultivation in botanic gardens and universities across the globe.

Public viewings of the plant have only occurred a few times in the U.S., with The Amazing Stinko the first specimen to be on display in Nebraska.

After a successful bloom cycle in 2017, this is the plant's second bloom.

Regular Hours
Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Current Admission Rates
Adults: $10 + tax
Children ages six to 12: $5 + tax
Children younger than six years of age: no admission fee
Lauritzen Gardens members: no admission fee

Full-size image of The Amazing Stinko, currently 88 inches tall with a circumference of 51.75 inches.