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Experience the Rare “Corpse Plant” Before This Smell Dies at Foster Botanical Garden

The plant typically blooms once every two to five years.


Corpse plant at Foster Botanical Garden.

Photo: Diane Lee 


If you missed the corpse plant blooming on May 13, you’ve got a rare second chance to get a whiff of its foul stench of rotting flesh.


The amorphophallus titanium, also known as corpse plant, is native to Sumatra, Indonesia, and blooms once every two to five years. When it blooms, it emits an odor reminiscent of limburger cheese. 


On Thursday evening, a small crowd gathered at the Foster Botanical Garden to get a closer sniff of the 6-foot plant. If you don’t mind the smell of sweaty socks, you can get a good look (and smell!) of the plant starting from tonight (until 7 p.m.) and throughout this weekend. Last month, another smaller blooming corpse plant drew a large crowd of curious onlookers. 


“It makes your eyes water,” says orchid horticulturalist Scot Mitamura. “It smells a little fishier like rotting fish.” 


Corpse flower plant.



But don’t delay, because the plant’s unmistakable odor only lasts for about 3–4 days. The plant is one of 10 mature corpse plants at the garden. The scent also attracts carrion beetles and flesh flies that pollinate the flower. Guess one creature’s stench is another’s sweet perfume.


$5 general admission (ages 13+), $3 for Hawai‘i residents (ages 13+), $1 for children (ages 6–12), free for children (ages 5 and under) with paying adult, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, 50 North Vineyard Boulevard. 


Read More Stories by Diane Lee 


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Honolulu Magazine July 2018
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