Showtime Looms for Lehman's 'Corpse Flower'


Artwork of the corpse flower by Mohammed FayyezA rare event is unfolding in the Lehman greenhouse. An "amorphophallus titanum" ("corpse flower")-the world's largest flower, eventually reaching about 4 feet wide by 8 feet tall-is in the process of blooming. The plant, native to the equatorial tropical rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia, is very difficult to grow. Only a dozen or so have bloomed within the United States. When it blooms completely, it gives off a characteristic obnoxious scent, variously described as rotting flesh or rancid cheese.

Prof. Janet Munch (Archives and Special Collections) also reports that for decades, the "amorphophallus titanum" was the official flower of the Bronx. In 2000, however, in a move that was symbolic of the borough's comeback, it was dropped in favor of a coral pink hybrid of the daylily, named "The Bronx."

You can watch the process of blooming on the web cam at

More information is available on the Lehman greenhouses' website.

Last modified: Oct 13, 2011

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