ST. LOUIS — The Climatron inside Missouri Botanical Garden has been packed as Luna a six-year-old corpse flower recently went into full bloom.
The titan arum, native to Indonesia, is known for an intense, strange odor that emits from the plant.
“I like to tell people that this is one of the weirdest plants that you’ll ever get to see,” said Emily Colletti, staff horticulturist. “It’s on a lot of people’s bucket lists because it comes from the other side of the world, from Sumatra and Indonesia. Its size is huge, its color’s huge and it smells stinky.”
The Missouri Botanical Garden recorded over 2,000 visitors on Tuesday that viewed the corpse flower. It’s the twelfth that the facility has hosted since 2012. Similar crowds are anticipated as the week continues.
Luna was a gift from the Chicago Botanical Gardens as a seedling and has now grown to over five feet in height and weighs over 31 pounds.
“I’ve never seen a plant so massive in my life,” said visitor Devonte Overall of Centralia, Illinois. “It’s incredible. They give off a lot of aroma on it, which is odd. But besides that, I’m shocked.”
Another visitor said they can smell the flower as they were walking up to see it.
“We could smell her before we saw her,” said visitor Ross Roth-Johnson. “I was actually talking to my partner Jose and I was like ‘Hey, do you smell that right now?’ He was like ‘Yea, that’s her! That’s her!”‘
The corpse flower is listed as endangered in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) although there is an increasing number of plants in cultivation. A titan arum can take from five to 10 years to grow from seed until its first full bloom.
Luna usually opens quickly during the late afternoon with the peak usually coming after dark.
More can be found on the Missouri Botanical Garden website.