The U.S. Botanic Garden in D.C. was the place to be Monday when the Garden’s titan arum, or ‘corpse flower,’ was in bloom for the first time.

The seven-year-old, eight-foot-tall, and 250-pound Indonesian plant only blooms for about twenty-four hours, during which time it emits the odor or rotting flesh to attract pollinators. The smell of the rotting corpse flower was said to have peaked on Monday, July 22. Dr. Ari Novy, the Botanic Garden’s public programs manager, reportedly estimated that it attracted around 120,000 visitors on Monday alone.

Unfortunately, the beetle species that pollinates the corpse flower is not found in D.C. (as one might expect) and, the flower will soon begin to wilt in it’s own way. As the smell of rotting flesh disperses, the flower will begin to fall apart and is expected to enter what Novy calls a “dormant stage.”

The flower will now enter a dormant stage expected to last about seven to ten years – though the exact timetable remains a mystery. You can witness the flower bloom in a timelapse video below, or on the U.S. Botanical Garden livestream of the historic event.


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Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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