The new Roberto Burle Marx exhibit isn’t the only reason to plan a pilgrimage to the New York Botanical Garden in the next few weeks.
The Bronx green space will once again play host to a rare, incredibly stinky Amorphophallus titanum—better known as a corpse flower, which is native to Sumatra—which is on view at the garden’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. (Just in time for summer, when the city is already immersed in a funk of undetermined origin.)
Each flower is made up of several extremely weird parts: the spadix, or the “fleshy central spike” (ew) that protrudes from the center of the plant, and the spathe, or the cabbage-y flower that surrounds it. At some point in the next few weeks, the spathe will begin to unfurl, at which point it will “emit a powerful stench similar to that of rotting meat,” according to the garden. Lovely!
The first corpse flower to bloom domestically was at NYBG in 1937, and several smelly flowers have taken up residence there since—most recently in 2018, when the corpse flower unfurled itself at the end of June.
The actual blooming is unpredictable, and once it begins, it will all be over very within a day or so. If you want to catch the flower (and its stink) for yourself, keep an eye on the NYBG’s Twitter feed and the YouTube livestream, embedded above, over the next couple of days to be sure that you don’t miss it.