Rare corpse lily bloom to cause big stink at Volunteer Park Conservatory

Seattle’s mysterious corpse lily (Amorphophallus titanum) is in the early stages of blooming at the Volunteer Park Conservatory, on loan from University of Washington (UW) Biology and UW Biology Greenhouse.

The corpse lily, native to the Equatorial rain forests of Sumatra, is one of the world’s largest and can grow up to six feet tall. The nickname refers to its powerful stench, likened to that of rotting flesh, which attracts pollinators.

The specimen now on display at the Conservatory, a special interest of the University of Washington Botany Greenhouse former manager Doug Ewing, follows two others that have been displayed there. Ewing sowed his first corpse flower seeds in 1993, and first experienced a bloom in 1999. Small compared to its counterparts, this year’s bloom is the first to bloom from a batch of seeds Ewing planted in 2004. Corpse flowers typically bloom every six or seven years, as blooming takes a lot of energy out of them.

It is traditional to name corpse flower a name, and this specimen is named Dougsleyhere.

The Volunteer Park Conservatory is located at 1400 E Galer St., at the north end of Volunteer Park. It is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there is a $4 admission charge ($2 for youth age 13-17; free for kids 12 and younger).

For more information about the Conservatory, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/parkspaces/volunteerpark/conservatory.htm

Connect to the Friends of the Conservatory about this event via http://www.volunteerparkconservatory.org/return-of-the-corpse-flower/ and through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivan.vonkatzen.