Rare "Terra the Titan" corpse flower blooming in San Francisco

Something exciting is happening at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. Its massive Amorphophallus titanum, aka corpse flower, is in bloom! Catch "Terra the Titan," as they've named it, on their livestream while you can. The flower, which is known to bloom every seven to 10 years or so, will only be open for roughly 24-36 hours before it collapses and dies. Be glad you can watch the flower from afar. They're known for their overpowering putrid stench which is said to be reminiscent of rotten flesh.


There is a good reason for the plant's strong odor. "It all comes down to science," said Tim Pollak, outdoor floriculturist at the Chicago Botanic Garden. "The smell, color and even temperature of corpse flowers are meant to attract pollinators and help ensure the continuation of the species."

Pollak explained that dung beetles, flesh flies and other carnivorous insects are the primary pollinators of this type of flower. These insects typically eat dead flesh. The smell and the dark burgundy color of the corpse flower are meant to imitate a dead animal to attract these insects.

"Corpse flowers are also able to warm up to 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 Celsius) to further fool the insects…The insects think the flower may be food, fly inside, realize there is nothing to eat, and fly off with pollen on their legs. This process ensures the ongoing pollination of the species. Once the flower has bloomed and pollination is complete, the flower collapses."