Meijer Gardens has been raising Putricia since she was a seedling and now the rare corpse flower is about to bloom for the first time. The botanical park got the Amorphophallus titanum in 2000.
"I wanted to see it because it only blooms every 10 years. So it's bigger than I expected it to be," said Hailey Powers, from Rockford.
Guests are learning about Putricia's unique habit of blooming and emitting a terrible smell, like rotting meat.
Gabriel Vicory is visiting with a group of kids from his summer camp. "It's stinky because, when it blooms there’s a reason for it. It attracts flies because they like stinky stuff, ” she said.
The corpse flower gives off the smell after it blooms to attract bugs, according to Senior Horticulture Manager Wendy Overbeck. “It does that to attract pollinators that are attracted to that smell. So, like a fly or beetle that is attracted to meat, it will be attracted to this flower," she said.
Overbeck has seen Putricias transformation. 18 years ago, the plant came to Meijer Gardens as a seedling.
"And every time it's gone dormant we've repotted her. As she’s gotten bigger and bigger, we put her in a new pot each time. This time, the corm was 52 lbs. and this is what is producing the flower," Overbeck said.
The bloom will be quick and happen overnight. "It's theorized that it does that to attract insects who fly around at night," Overbeck said.
Once it opens, Overbeck says it will be worth seeing. "The frilly part will unfold and open up and be like a big vase almost. Down inside there will be a deep maroon color. It’s gorgeous."
So, when will it bloom? Overbeck says either Thursday into Friday or Friday into Saturday. Many hope it will be Friday the 13.
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