Corpse Flower – Amorphophallus Titanum

Our state capitol of Des Moines, IA is getting a little more attention than usual this week. Aside from state baseball, there is a lot of buzz revolving around a certain plant which is ready to bloom any day now! 


The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is expecting their Titan Arum (corpse flower) to bloom at ANY MOMENT! With extended business hours and a live stream via YouTube, the corpse flower, affectionately named Carrie will be the first of its kind in Iowa. 


So why is this giant plant so special?

Amorphophallus titanium, also known as the Titan arum (singular: Amorphophallus; plural: Amorphophalles) is a tropical plant that has the largest inflorescence (group of flowers growing from one main stem) in the world. 


Second, the flower emits an oder of rotting flesh! The bloom (and smell) will only last 24 hours, so timing is everything! 

The odor is due to the plant releasing chemicals to attract flies, beetles, and other insects to come and pick the pollen from the smelly plant.  


“When it unfurls, this exceedingly rare plant emits an odor similar to rotting flesh from the world’s largest unbranched inflorescence in the world. This flower is estimated to tower over four feet tall and will open up for less than 24 hours, and won’t bloom again for at least 3-5 years.” – Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden


The corpse flower is green with deep purple petals – these petals will fall within 36hours, followed by the entire structure collapsing to the ground. Once this process is complete, a new leaf will emerge and begin the process over again, to once day bloom in 3-5 years. 


How did something so special makes its way to Iowa? 

“This particular plant was brought back to Iowa from Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif. in 2013 by Whitney Bouma, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden’s Director of Education and Outreach.” – Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Carrie is expected to grow over 4ft tall and weigh in at 200+ lbs. Blooming every 3-5 years, she will continue to grow, maxing out at nearly 10 FEET TALL! 


This certainly is a rare moment and an exciting one for horticulturalists and plant lovers from all over. 


Be sure to keep your eyes on the live-stream, and  if you are close, be sure to stop and smell the …… flesh?