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Dartmouth's Rare, Smelly Corpse Flower Is About To Bloom. Here's How To Watch

Rebecca Sananes
"Morphy" the corpse flower stands at 7 feet tall in the Dartmouth Life Sciences greenhouse. It's expected to bloom any day.

A 7-foot exotic plant is expected to bloom at a Dartmouth greenhouse for the first time in nearly six years, and the school has made a live web stream available for those who can't make it to campus.

The corpse flower that Dartmouth has nicknamed "Morphy" is still growing about 3 inches every day. When it finally stops growing, it will open petals about an arms-length-long.

Watch the webcam here.

News outlets from Cosmopolitan Magazineto the Boston Globe have visited the rare flower to write about its expected bloom.

Theworld record for the largest corpse flower was 10 feet tall.

Kim DeLong is the Dartmouth greenhouse manager, and has been tending to the plant for years. She says when it does finally bloom, you will smell it — and it does not smell like your average flower.

“[It smells] really putrid. Dead body, urine, feces — anything gross and disgusting that you can think of, and it's overpowering, especially for the first 12 hours after it opens,” she said recently, standing in the Dartmouth greenhouse.

Dartmouth's live web stream, called"Watch Morphy Again Rise From the Ashes,"is available for those who can't get to the greenhouse ... or don't want to smell the corpse flower. 

The plant, whose formal name is titan arum, originates from the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. It grows from what DeLong describes as a pea-sized seed.

Another corpse flower bloomed in August in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Botanic Garden. DeLong says it is unclear whether these plants are just similar ages, or are somehow communicating with one another.

“There are specific species of bamboo that somehow synchronistically communicates with each other all around the world," DeLong said. "They haven’t figured out exactly how.”

DeLong is hopeful Dartmouth’s corpse flower will bloom early next week.

The greenhouse will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Friday, Sept. 23, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Find updates and directions to the greenhouse here.

Watch a time lapse video of a corpse flower at the U.S. Botanical Garden:

Rebecca Sananes was VPR's Upper Valley Reporter. Before joining the VPR Newsroom, she was the Graduate Fellow at WBUR and a researcher on a Frontline documentary.
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