'What’s that smell?': Rare corpse flower set to bloom in Toronto next week
A corpse plant at the Toronto Zoo is expected to bloom in the next week. (Toronto Zoo)
TORONTO -- For a second time, a corpse flower, aptly named for its putrid smell, is expected to blossom in Toronto.
The flower, officially named Amorphophallus titanium, is native to Indonesia and will bloom for just eight to 36 hours. When it is in full bloom, the plant produces a strong smell similar to rotting meat in order to attracts flies and beetles for pollination.
The plant usually takes between seven to 10 years to bloom, but one flower at the Toronto Zoo opened in September 2018 after only five years. It was named Pablo “Pe-ew” Caso in a contest and was widely visited in-person and watched online.
It can take several years for a corpse plant to bloom for a second time.
On Friday, the zoo announced that a second corpse plant is set to bloom in the next week.
“What’s that smell?” the zoo teased in a social media post.
“Based on the current growth in comparison to Pablo, we anticipate the bloom to occur next Wednesday. However, the Amorphophallus titanum can be unpredictable and given that this would be an early bloom for this particular plant, anything can happen.”
Jesse Raycroft, the supervisor of horticulture at the Toronto Zoo, said that while the team is optimistic the plant will bloom, the corpse flower is a bit undersized.
“We don’t know if it will be a successful bloom,” he said. “There is always a chance it can collapse.”
“We were worried with Pablo too. So far, so good. It’s nice and strong. It’s growing a lot. We are optimistic.”
As of Saturday, Raycroft said the plant was roughly 37.5 inches. Pablo was 42.5 inches when it bloomed.
Raycroft said that if it does bloom, it will probably do so around 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. in order to attract nocturnal bugs to help with pollination.
The greenhouse where the plant is located is currently closed to the public due to the facility’s COVID-19 safety measures. A spokesperson for the zoo said they are still working to determine if the greenhouse will be able to open while the flower blooms or if they can set up a livestream.
The spokesperson urged Torontonians to keep an eye on the zoo's social media feeds for updates.