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Will the weekend stink? Corpse flower gets close to blooming, Huntington says

June 3, 2010 |  4:26 pm

Corpse flower

Thursday afternoon the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino posted a coy message on its Twitter account: "A fly has been spotted buzzing around the Corpse Flower bud. Does he know something?"

Stink3Officials later released a statement declaring that Amorphophallus titanum, the so-called corpse flower nicknamed for its pungent odor, "will likely open in the next 2 to 4 days -- subject to nature's whims, of course."

Huntington curator Dylan P. Hannon added that healthy adult plants can flower every three to five years, "but that is not to say they will follow any pattern."

This year's corpse flower is smaller than its predecessors, making it difficult for curators to predict when it will bloom. The plant, shown at right, measured 3 feet, 8 inches high on Thursday. Regardless of size, it's expected to smell equally rotten. According to the Huntington, the odor gives rainforest insects a heads-up that the plant is ready for pollination.

As reported earlier, the flower appears infrequently and lasts for only about a day. To see and smell the flower is still considered a rare event, as you have to be in the right place at the right time.

Corpse groupies can get up-to-date information on  the Huntington's website, on Facebook or on Twitter. The garden even has created the Stinky blog.

-- Lisa Boone

Top photo: Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: The Huntington

Update: The Corpse Flower began to open at 2 p.m. Friday. According to the Huntington, the bloom takes approximately 7 hours to open fully and is expected to last for 2 days.