What’s that Smell? Tennessee Corpse Flower is About to Bloom After Almost a Decade Wait
Clarksville Tennessee is about to cause a huge stink when their resident corpse flower blooms for the first time in the better part of a decade.
A strong stench deserves a strong name! Meet Zeus, Zeus is a corpse flower at Clarksville's Austin Peay State University. Zeus is a corpse flower that stands over 8 feet tall. The corpse flower gets its nickname because unlike deliciously sweet floral smells we're used to flowers emitting, the corpse flower releases a stench that smells like, well a corpse. The smell has been described as "rotting meat." While that isn't a smell I think I want near my nose anytime soon, this particular corpse flower is about to do something pretty exciting, it's about to bloom.
Why is a bloom so exciting?
Corpse flowers stay in dormancy for very long periods of time. This particular corpse flower at Austin Peay State University is 8 years old and is starting to show signs of blooming. Here's the real kicker, it will only bloom for about 24-36 hours before it goes back to dormancy again which gives you a very small window of actually getting to see a corpse flower in bloom.
Here's what a blooming corpse flower looks like:
Here's what Austin Peay State University had to say in an article written about Zeus:
As Austin Peay’s 8-year-old plant – nicknamed Zeus – emerges from its most recent dormancy, signs indicate that it may bloom in the next week or two. The central column of Zeus’ flowering structure has begun to emerge. When the plant actually blooms, Zeus will unleash its terrible stink.
But the bloom also has a sweet reward – especially for Austin Peay’s biology students. Although corpse flower blooms are becoming more common in cultivation, they’re extremely rare. As of 2019, only about 500 corpse flower plants lived in university or private collections or botanical gardens.
Want to catch a glimpse of Zeus?
You can visit the Sundquist Science Complex from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM each day to get a glimpse of Zeus. If you're lucky you may catch Zeus on the day it blooms! Or maybe that would be unlucky because you'd have to smell the infamous stench of the corpse flower? Either way, you can learn more about Zeus, corpse flowers, and the Austin Peay State University, here.
Can't make it to Clarksville?
Check out a Livestream of Zeus below, maybe you'll catch the blooming live!
While you won't be able to smell through your screen, you can check out a timelapse video of a corpse flower blooming at the Chicago Botanic Gardens just a few years ago.
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