New Corpse Flower Could Bloom at Chicago Botanic Garden This Weekend

The Chicago Botanic Garden is on titan watch as its third corpse flower is in its bloom cycle in the Semitropical Greenhouse.

Staff of the Chicago Botanic Garden are expecting “Sprout” to bloom this weekend, although it is difficult to predict. The corpse flower is well into its bloom cycle, now standing 55.25 inches tall and 35.5 inches wide. 

“The plant has two leaves that have to fall first,” said Gloria Ciaccio with Chicago Botanic Garden. “When that happens, we know it is getting ready to open; sometimes it takes two days, sometimes four. The first leaf has fallen and the second is about to drop. Could be Saturday or Sunday for the opening.”

The corpse flower, or titan arum, is the largest flowering structure in the world, and a typical plant blooms for only a single day every seven to 10 years. The name corpse flower derives from the foul stench the plant emits once opened, said to smell like decaying flesh.

Blooms usually happen overnight, so when Sprout blooms the garden will stay open until 2 a.m. to allow visitors the chance to smell the plant at the peak of its odor.

The Garden advises guests to arrive by 1 a.m. to ensure entrance.

The Chicago Botanic Garden saw its first corpse flower, Alice, bloom on its own back in September. To have more than one plant in bloom in such a short period of time, 8 months, is said to be unheard of.

“You don’t see many institutions have multiple plants blooming within months of each other,” said Tim Pollak, outdoor floriculturist who, along with Deb Moore, has been caring for the corpse flowers in the Garden’s collection.

A third corpse flower, "Spike" failed to bloom and was manurally opened by garden staff. 

Contact Us