Corpse bride? At UC Davis, we have corpse flowers

A man crouching in the dark, watching a big red flower.
UC Davis Botanical Conservatory Manager Ernesto Sandoval checks out the corpse flower at full bloom.

Corpse Bride, meet the corpse flowers at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory. The largest bloom in the world, the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) flower is really a cluster of many flowers growing from the same base. It can take 15 years for the plant to become big enough to produce a bloom. That may be a good thing because when it does, it emits a powerful fragrance akin to rotten eggs, rotten meat or, yes, a corpse. But instead of repelling, the blooming corpse flower has attracted thousands of people to the conservatory to meet — and smell — it in all its putrid glory. 

The last time a corpse flower bloomed at UC Davis was 2012, but friends of foul flowers should get their chance for a wicked whiff soon! The conservatory expects two, and possibly four, corpse flowers to bloom next year, one of which will most likely be Ted the Titan, which has already bloomed five times since 2003.

Media Resources

Kat Kerlin, Research news (emphasis on environmental sciences), 530-750-9195,