'Corpse Flower' blooms at Mitchell Park Domes

NOW: ’Corpse Flower’ blooms at Mitchell Park Domes


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Monday, July 12, is the last chance to see an exotic flower in rare form.

A blooming Corpse Flower is on display at the Mitchell Park Domes, but not for much longer.

The Corpse Flower got its name because of how nasty it can smell when it blooms.

Wearing the required mask helps with the odor, but the flower only blooms for two to three days. Whereas most flowers smell sweet, this one has a rotten odor.

"It smells kind of gross but, at the same time, it smells just like a natural flower would," said Austin Roth who lives in Missouri.

"Well, with this (the mask) over you don't get the smell that bad at all, but it's different," said Domes visitor Ronald MacDonald.

This is the ninth Corpse Flower at Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Domes.

And the process behind it blooming takes a lot of time.

"Each year the tuber sends up a stalk," said Domes Horticulturist Mary Braunreiter. "It can get 15 feet tall and that stalk with that leaf on it continues to grow for 12-18 months and puts energy into the bulb so the bulb can grow more."

After eight to 10 years, Braunreiter said the bulb is large enough to produce a flower.

This flower started blooming Sunday.

"So when it produces a flower, that only lasts 24 to 48 hours and then the flower fades," she explained. "After that it goes dormant again for another six months."

And the process begins again.

She said the rancid smell is to attract flies to help pollinate the flower.

It's an odor that folks in Milwaukee seem not to mind.

"I think it's really pretty and it's huge," said Domes visitor Penny Garczynski.

The domes are normally closed on Mondays but will be open July 12 until 5 p.m.

The last entry time is at 4 p.m., and they'll be closed Tuesday, July 13.

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