Jun 18, 2022 - News

Smell Lil' Stinker, the rare corpse flower, at Denver Botanic Gardens

Visitors at the Denver Botanic Gardens smell the corpse flower in 2018. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver Botanic Gardens is inviting visitors to witness a rare moment this weekend, but you'll need to hold your nose once you arrive.

What's happening: "Lil' Stinker" is a titan arum. Better known as "corpse flowers," these plants are notorious for releasing sweet stenches of cheese, sweat and rotting flesh when they bloom. Now Lil' Stinker is blooming in the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory.

  • This is Lil' Stinker's second-ever bloom, and it's the fourth corpse flower to blossom at the Gardens since "Stinky" first did so in 2015.

Why it matters: Corpse flower blooms are extremely rare and highly unpredictable.

  • Lil' Stinker hasn't bloomed in six years, and will only be on display for 24-36 hours.

Of note: The smell dissipates after the first few hours, so if you're visiting today, you'll likely be spared.

Context: Corpse flowers, native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, are endangered, with fewer than a thousand estimated in the wild.

  • The plants use their foul odor to attract certain bees, flies and beetles for pollination.
  • Once the bloom cycle completes, they go dormant and begin rebuilding for the next flowering — a process that can take years.

What's next: Lil’ Stinker will be taken to a private greenhouse once the blossom fades.

Be smart: Advanced-purchased, timed-entry tickets are required.


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