GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - When the Amorphophallus titanum blooms, it smells like rotting meat in order to attract pollinators. Frederik Meijer Gardens got 'Putricia' as a seedling 18 years ago, and now they are getting ready for the plant to bloom for the first time.
"I can remember when it was still a tiny pot on a greenhouse bench in the back," said Wendy Overbeck, senior horticulture manager at Frederik Meijer Gardens. She has been working for the Gardens for 15 years.
Meijer Gardens say that they are expecting the plant to bloom between July 11 and 14. This type of plant typically blooms for about a day or a day and half, according to Eastern Illinois University.
Overbeck says, on average, this plant will bloom every seven to 10 years, and typically the corm—the large bulb-like part of the plant underground—will be 35 pounds.
"This guy was a little shy and waited to be 52 pounds and 18 years old," said Overbeck.
Over the course of a week, Putricia grew over 24 inches, and it is averaging five inches a day. It is currently four feet tall, but could get up to seven or eight feet.
When it blooms, it will be a deep maroon color, and the tip of the plant will be approximately the human body temperature. "In addition to being really stinky, it should be absolutely gorgeous," said Overbeck.
Tim Pollak, from the Chicago Botanic Garden, explained the chemical makeup of the corpse flower. He said that it smells like lumburger cheese, rotting fish, sweaty socks, flowers, Chloraseptic and mothballs.
"This will flower, and then when it's done flowering, the stalk will die back. It will go dormant for a little while, then it will go back to the cycle," said Overbeck.
This plant is the largest flowering structure in the world, and it is not common. In the wild, it's native to Sumatra, Indonesia, and in North America, it can only be found in conservatories.
If you want to see it, Putricia is being kept in the tropical conservatory, which is the largest greenhouse on site at Frederik Meijer Gardens.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.