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Thousands come to smell corpse flower blooming in Ann Arbor

Posted at 5:51 PM, Apr 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-19 17:51:42-04

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — There is a smell of death coming out of Ann Arbor. A corpse flower bloomed at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

It’s actually attracting thousands of folks who want to sniff it out.

Many described it as:

  • “Stinky socks”
  • “A cross between rotten meat and a dirty diaper.”
  • “Dirty socks and stinky lockers.”
  • “It smells like a pickle.”
  • “Rotting animal flesh, like as if a squirrel died underneath your deck.”

Joe Mooney is the marketing director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

“It stinks and that’s totally opposite of what you expect a flower to be,” he said. “Kind of looks like a Victorian purple shroud.”

It smells like death, but is full of life and purpose. That’s because the rotting flesh smell attracts pollinators like flies.

“Evil looking flower," he says, "it’s actually sort of beautiful in its own way.”

The corpse flower bloomed later than they thought and has filled the area with that horrible smell.

“Based on other things we’ve read, it’s going to bloom in four days, then four days went by and it didn’t bloom, then it was six days.”

The smell will probably stick around for one more day.

There are several types of corpse flowers. The Matthaei Botanical Gardens has another one that’s much bigger and that’s expected to bloom next year.

“That one will definitively smell like rotting flesh,” he added.