Smelly 'corpse flower' blooms at Botanical Gardens

Aug 8, 2014

Morty the Corpse Flower has bloomed. The rare flower that smells like rotting flesh or hot garbage is on display at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Friday.

Morty the Corpse Flower in full bloom at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO

The plant blossomed late Thursday night. It will be in bloom for 24 to 48 hours before it wilts and the stench fades. The flower only blooms every 6 to 10 years. It’s 7 ft. 8 in. tall and weighs 120 pounds.

Morty developed a large Twitter following prior to its opening at @MortyStinks.

Many were lined up before the doors opened at the Botanical Gardens Friday morning to get a whiff of the plant. Wendy Zebehazy was first in line.

“It smelled kind of like a garbage truck. I guess that’s what the plant does to draw the insects in for pollination. You don’t often smell that, because flowers are usually pretty smelling and this one wasn’t,” said Zebehazy.

5-year old Aaron Saul plugged his nose as he approached it.

“It smells like a dead body and stinky cheese,” said Saul.

Eric Nagel and his daughter Morgan said the smell was very interesting.

Aaron and Micah Saul plugging their noses at the smell of Morty.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO

These kids are not happy with the stench Morty emits.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO

“The flower kinds of looks like it smells better than it really does smell,” said Morgan Nagel. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was kinds of like taking out the garbage on a summer morning after it’s been sitting there all week,” said Eric Nagel.

The Corpse Flower or amorphophallus titanum is native to Sumatra, Indonesia and only five of them are in bloom in the world at one time. When the plant is not flowering it will become a large leaf like structure. Director of Horticulture Jeff Thompson says his team plans to take a scalpel to Morty and cut a hole in its ovary to show people what it looks like inside.

“I can equate waiting for Morty to bloom to waiting for a baby to be born. The entire horticulture staff has been astonished and impressed with this rare plant,” said Thompson.

Thompson says Morty is expected to smell worse in the evening. The Botanical Gardens will be open until 11 p.m. Friday for the public to view the Corpse Flower in full bloom.