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Rare "Corpse Flower" On Public Display, May Bloom This Weekend

Imagine being known for your terrible odor, and having your girth expand an inch and a half in one day. If plants could talk, one tropical flower in Springfield right now might be able to tell us what that feels like. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore has details.

Gardeners and botanists are anxiously standing by, waiting for a rare “corpse flower,” or the Amorphophallus titanium, to bloom. The enormous, tropical flower gets its nickname from the horrible stench it omits during its brief blooming period.

The flower only grows in the wild on the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia. But for the next few days, you can see one in the Ozarks.

George Deatz, president of Friends of the Garden, says the bud is four feet, five inches high, and it is 30 inches in circumference.

"And we hope this bud will open up into a full blown flower, hopefully this weekend, if the temperature in this room stays high enough," Deatz says.

He says it's beginning to smell like a "dead rat."

Deatz says people can see the flower at Nathanael Greene Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Avenue in Springfield. On the north side of the park, halfway between the entrance and Japanese Stroll Garden, there’s a brown community building and there are signs to direct you to the flower in that building.

Deatz says only about 40 corpse flowers have bloomed for public display since 1939, and the state of Missouri has only recorded one other bloom.

This corpse flower belongs to Dr. William Roston of Forsyth. He bought the root six months ago on E-bay.

Friends of the Garden has started up an email list for people who would like to be notified once the flower begins to actually bloom. To receive your notification, you can shoot an email to: news [at] friendsofthegarden [dot] org.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.

Dr. William Roston of Forsyth bought the root on E-bay six months ago. The actual bud is now four feet, five inches tall, and 30 inches in circumference. (Photo provided by Friends of the Garden)