There are times when “stopping to smell the roses” may not be a great idea. One of the wonders in the world of horticulture is the Amorphophallus titanum plant, also called the Stinky Corpse flower. The name is well derived, since when the large plant is in bloom the odor it gives off is likened to that of a decomposing corpse.
The blooming of the flower only happens every 3 to 5 years. The magenta petals bloom only lasts 24 to 48 hours. The plants can weigh up to 200 lbs, and the spadix, or the tall spiky flesh in the middle of the plant, looks large enough to hold a human body.
The plant is endangered and is believed to be originally from the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The odor is caused by the pollination process. Beetles crawl into the plant and move the pollen from the male to the female flowers.
Since it is a rare specimen of plant, there are only a few available for viewing. Once such opportunity for viewing is at the Orange College in Southern California. “Little John”, as the Stinky Corpse flower is named, is an 11 year old specimen, on display during it’s season of blooming.
The 164-acre campus is located in Costa Mesa. It was founded in 1947 and offers 2-year associate of art and science degrees, certificates of achievement, and transferable lower-division class credits to other college and universities. The Orange Coast College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
Orange Coast College mission is to provide a higher education at a lower cost, and to assist students with remedial, or lower-division education, who are planning to attend a California State University. OCC has many programs available for students including active clubs, sports, and many students centers such as a Learning Center, Career Center, and Financial Aid.
Guided tours are available by appointment only. Orange Coast College welcomes interested students, and while you are there, you might as well meet “Little John”, the resident Stinky Corpse Flower.
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