August 19, 2013—The corpse flower at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is once again entering its blooming cycle after its first opening less than three years ago in October 2010.
Titan arum, commonly known as the corpse flower, is a large rare flower named for the stink of rotting flesh that is emitted as it blooms. The blooming cycle can span anywhere from several years to several decades with the bloom lasting only a few hours.
Dan Waletzko, greenhouse and field plot manager, estimates the flower will open in the next few days if consistent with its past flowering. It reached a height of 48 inches late last week and has slowed in growth over the weekend. The flower's last outer sheath wilted on Sunday, according to Waletzko, and, if consistent with the 2010 opening, the flower could open about five days after the last sheath wilts. In 2010, the bloom only lasted 6-8 hours, from approximately 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., before it began to close. The plant's rotten meat odor is strongest at night in order to attract carrion beetles and flies which pollinate it.
UW-River Falls received the corpse flower seed from UW-Madison in 2001.
A live video feed is accessible at http://www.uwrf.edu/CAFES/corpseFlowerLive.cfm. The video feed and more information about the corpse flower can be found under news and events on the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences home page at http://www.uwrf.edu/CAFES/Index.cfm.
Visitors are welcome to visit the greenhouse to view (and smell) the flower. Regular hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Hours may be extended depending on interest and the time of blooming. Large groups are encouraged to call ahead as viewing space may be limited. The UWRF greenhouse is located behind the Agricultural Science building off South Third Street.
For more information, email Waletzko at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-425-4888.