A Big Stinking Premiere

Welcome to the world, Wolfgang! NC State’s youngest corpse flower, or titan arum, is blooming for the first time at the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) in Raleigh. The plant — which is 74 inches tall and 35 inches wide — will bloom for the next two to three days. It’s most impressive, and stinkiest, early in blooming.

This baby is 8 years old and the fourth campus corpse flower. You’ll smell Wolfgang before you meet him. His rotting flesh smell can be detected up to a half-mile away by pollinators like carrion beetles and flesh flies, along with humans nearby. 

It’s easy to catch a peek of Wolfgang from his perch outside the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center next to the Cascade Fountain. The JCRA will offer extended hours during the bloom from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Wolfgang, like all corpse flowers, has one of the largest flowering structures in the plant kingdom and may grow 6 to 8 feet high and reach a diameter of 3 feet.

Corpse flowers have a complex life cycle. It takes at least seven years for the corpse flower to bloom for the first time. After blooming, the plant will go dormant and move through leaf cycles until it restores its energy supply to rebloom – its main goal for existing. A typical bloom ranges from 4 to 8 feet tall. As it blooms, the corpse flower heats up to help spread its smell so that it attracts bugs to aid pollination.

For a pungent-free view, watch the live stream video at https://go.ncsu.edu/corpseflowerlive or follow along with social media updates with #StinkyPack.

This post was originally published in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News.