Corpse Flower Blooms On Hawaii Island For First Time In Thirteen Years

09/06/2013 07:23 pm ET | Updated Sep 19, 2013

You have 48 hours to get to Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens on the island of Hawaii to get a whiff of "Stinky 2," one of the world’s smelliest flowers.

Stinky 2 is a corpse flower, also known as the titan arum. Corpse flowers usually bloom between every 2-10 years. But Stinky 2 is 13 years old and has never bloomed before. The plants' flowers release a strong, putrid odor that resembles the smell of rotting flesh. The smell not only attracts curious tourists, but also beetles and flies, which then pollinate the flower.

Stinky 2, (yes, there is a Stinky 1 at the zoo as well, it bloomed in 2011), will begin blooming today, Sept. 6, and stink up Pana’ewa for about 48 hours.

The titan arum is the largest unbranched inflourescence (cluster of flowers) in the world. In its natural habitat of Sumatra, it can grow as tall as twelve feet. It possesses both male and female flowers. The plant actually heats itself to temperatures upwards of 95.5 degrees fahrenheit in order to emit its smell. Unlike more pleasantly-fragrant plants that attract bees and hummingbirds, the sulfur-like stench actually draws in beetles and flies. When the female flowers are pollinated, they produce clusters of bright orange fruit (don’t partake -- they can be deadly to humans). If the seeds from these fruit are planted, the plants can take five to seven years to begin growing.

corpse flower

The Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens is the United States’ only natural tropical rainforest zoo in the country. It is home to 80 species of animals, including a white bengal tiger -- which might be a good alternative attraction when you can’t stand Stinky 2’s stinkiness anymore.

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