What's that smell? A rancid corpse flower that's about to bloom - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

What's that smell? A rancid corpse flower that's about to bloom in Honolulu

(Image: Foster Botanical Garden) (Image: Foster Botanical Garden)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

If you can brave the smell of a pilau pua, you may want to make a visit to Oahu's Foster Botanical Garden sometime next week.

The scent of the Amorphophallus titanum, more commonly known as the gnarly "Corpse Flower," has been compared to that of rotting flesh.

And the botanical garden is lucky enough to have a bloom this year.

"One of our dormant Corpse Plants (Amorphophallus titanum) has decided to become a flower this year! Stay tuned...the flower will not fully open for at least another week," garden staff said in a Facebook post Thursday.

According to LiveScience.com, the rotting flesh smell is credited to the flower's natural instinct to attract pollinators. In this case, bees don't pollinate the flower — bugs like dung beetles, flesh flies and various carnivorous insects do. And that's the type of scent that attracts them.

Botanists also say the odor is a beautiful blend of chemicals similar to the smell of garlic, rotting fish, ammonia, cooked onions, limburger cheese and mothballs — just to name a few.

Staff at Foster Botanical Garden says the "maximum stank" emitted by the flower is strongest during the first 24 hours. 

The plant is one of 10 mature plants at the garden.

The specific day the flower will bloom is not clear exactly, but the garden is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. 

To schedule a free guided tour and to catch a whiff of the stinky pua, call 808-522-7066.

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