Get a whiff: Corpse flower in bloom at San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

Corpse flower begins to bloom at San Franciscos Conservatory of Flowers, July 3, 2023. Still image taken from SF Conservatory of Flowers Live Stream. 

The corpse flower on display at San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers began to bloom on Monday just in time for holiday visitors. Special arrangements are being made to keep the conservatory open until 9:30 p.m. to check out this natural, albeit bizarre beauty. 

Visitors should know this flower gets its name because of its putrid smell. 

The Conservatory excitedly posted to social media Monday afternoon that "Scarlet the Corpse Flower started blooming moments ago and will be in peak bloom tonight at the Conservatory of Flowers!"

It's the moment botanists and flower lovers have been waiting for. 

Getting back to the smell that makes this flower unique, not to mention its impressive size, the conservatory once wrote of 'Scarlett the Titan', "The smell of this curious bloom itself is certainly impressive, but what part of the plant is stinky? The answer may surprise you! This plant can produce some of the nastiest-smelling chemicals around all manufactured in the top of the central spadix." 

The spadix is that internal part of the flower that is exposed once the flower blooms. 

One of the chemicals produced by the corpse flower is also found in Limburger cheese, according to the conservatory. No wonder it smells rotten. But that's not all. It also produces isovaleric acid, which lives naturally on human skin and is described as producing a smell characteristic of sweaty feet. Lastly it produces trimethylamine, which in low concentrates resembles the smell of rotting fish. So imagine what the smell of these chemicals combined is like! 

If you are unable to make it in person, the Conservatory was thoughtful enough to put up a live stream on its YouTube page.

If you do try to go, act fast. The Conservatory has said during previous blooms that once the flower's spathe begins to open, that things progress quite rapidly. Hurry up and get a whiff! 

The Conservatory is open late on Tuesday, the 4th of July and will open again Wednesday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on its usual maintenance closure day. 

The San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is located at 100 John F. Kennedy Drive in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.