Stinker Bell, UNC Charlotte’s youngest blooming titan arum, is showing signs of opening during the next one to three days.
Tammy Blume, manager of the McMillan Greenhouse, said, “I am predicting a bloom Thursday, Friday or Saturday. The day it begins opening, we will keep the greenhouse open until 8 p.m. for viewing. The following day, we will open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.”
Titan arums are known as corpse flowers; this nickname is from the putrid smell they release as they bloom. Many observers liken the aroma to that of rotting flesh. In the wild, the smell of the titan arum attracts a variety of insects, including flies and beetles whose young normally feed on dead creatures, which aids the corpse flower to reproduce.
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens personnel propagated Stinker Bell using pollen collected in 2015 from a previous corpse flower, Odie, and Morpheus, housed at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Pollination led to successful seed germination and the resulting plant was christened Stinker Bell as a result of a social media contest.
Other Botanical Gardens titan arums include Bella (which bloomed in 2007 and 2010 before dying), Odie (which bloomed in 2015 and 2018 before dying) and Rotney the Magnifiscent (which bloomed in 2018 and 2020 and now is dormant). The Botanical Gardens currently has 10 young titans; seven are offsprings of Odie and Rotney. Other Odie-Rotney seeds were distributed to botanical gardens around the country in 2018.
For more information, read five things to know about a corpse flower.