|EIU's Corpse Flower at full bloom in 2014|
Eastern Illinois University’s Titan Arum (aka Corpse Flower) appears to be honoring its tradition of a biennial flowering.
Steven Malehorn, manager of Eastern Illinois University’s H.F. Thut Greenhouse, is eagerly waiting the plant’s fifth blooming. Earlier bloomings took place in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
The developing flower (technically an inflorescence) could grow to be seven feet tall and three feet wide, and will definitely smell “nasty,” Malehorn said. He “guesstimates,” based on the plant’s past four blooms, is that the plant will bloom “at 2:30 p.m. Monday, June 27, plus or minus two days.
"However, it will do what it will do, what it wants to do, when it wants to do it,” he added. “The exact date can't be known until about a day or so before it actually blooms. But when it does bloom, it will happen fast -- within hours -- and the bloom will only last one night."
Based on past experience, Malehorn says the spathe will gradually open and become fully open, followed by an intense “roadkill” aroma that can be smelled, literally, a mile away. The odor is at its strongest for just a few hours before gradually diminishing. The powerful scent is used to attract flies which pollinate the flowers.
The bloom should remain at its peak for roughly 12 hours – to the point when the spathe starts to gradually close. Then, over the next few days, the giant flower will slowly collapse.
The developing flower can be viewed anytime through the south window of the Thut Greenhouse, located near the Life Sciences Building and just west of Buzzard Hall on EIU’s campus. Beginning today (Monday, June 13), the greenhouse will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. daily for the duration of the event. On the day of the bloom, the greenhouse will be open until midnight, and again from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the day following the bloom.
Visitors will enter the greenhouse through the east door. Wheelchair access into the building will be through the south courtyard gate and greenhouse west door.
Live streaming video of the event will be available here. Follow the greenhouse here for up-to-the-minute bloom information. For other information, including a daily blog, photos and parking information, go here.
About 800 individuals visited the greenhouse in 2014 to smell and see the plant in person. Another 6,000 or so “safely” viewed the plant via the Internet through the live feed.
Questions? Contact Steven Malehorn at firstname.lastname@example.org, 217-581-3126 (Department of Biological Sciences’ main office) Monday through Friday.