"Stinky," a malodorous Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the Corpse Flower, reached a height of six feet, one-quarter inch at noon today. This was a four-and-a-half-inch growth over the last 24 hours and means the Sumatra-native will be blooming very soon at the Huntington Library's Botanical Gardens, where it is the center of gathering media and public attention. (The Huntington's last Corpse Flower bloom occurred to great acclaim in 2002.)
The Huntington's Stinky Web page, which says a bloom could be "any day now," is a fairly good source of info on the subject, complete with a blog and reader questions. One reader asked what's probably on everyone's mind, namely, just what does the flower secret that smells "like rotten meat," as one person put it.
"The chemicals responsible for the odor were once thought to be
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putrescine and cadaverine, which are the chemicals that produce the
odor in decaying animal flesh," replied the erudite "Stinky Expert." Turns out, however, that the aroma of death actually comes from a mix of dimethyl
disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide.
Perhaps best of all about the site, it links to sales of Stinky T-shirts -- you can even buy a plant at the Huntington's store, for $250. How sweet it is.