Hordes of people are expected to come and smell the rare and beautiful Corpse Flower when it blooms later this week. While spectacular when it blooms, the Amorphophallus titanium plant is popularly known as the “corpse flower” because when it blooms it smells like, well, a corpse.
The plant, nicknamed Little Dougie, will be displayed at the Orange Coast College’s administration building for its admirers to come and catch a sniff.
After it blooms, the visitors will be allowed to come anywhere up to 10pm for a glimpse of the rare and unique flower. The school will also be broadcasting the blooming plant via webcam.
Orange College has had Little Dougie since 2006. The plant is still on the small size for a corpse flower specimen, at 5 feet tall and only thirty pounds. Some of the larger ones can grow up to 200 pounds.
It is the second time that the school has owned a corpse flower, and the last one was kept in the greenhouse with fans running for hours when it let off its smell. Little John, as it was known, attracted thousands of visitors. Learn more about Orange Coast College: http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/Pages/home.aspx and http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/academics/class_schedule/Pages/default.aspx
The corpse flower smell is caused by pollination. Beetles crawl around inside the plant and move the pollen from the male to the female flowers. In Little Dougie’s case, the school pollinates the flower by hand.
In addition to the smell, the event will showcase the plant’s beautiful magenta flower petals, which unfurl like a lady’s skirt around the plant’s tall fleshy spike.
The first bloom might take place when the plant is ten years old and lasts 24-48 hours, starting typically in the evening. After the first bloom, it blooms every three to five years.
The event is also a fundraiser for the horticultural department at Orange Coast College.
Orange Coast College enrolls around 24,000 undergraduate students, the third highest by population in Orange County.
Its two-year and certificate programs attract those interested in associates degrees as well as transfers to larger four-year universities later on. It was founded in 1947 using land on a deactivated airbase.