Corpse. Corpse flower. It turns out “corpse” can be a hard word to spell repeatedly. I keep typing “corpose.” If you’re wondering, “Is this corpse flower thing a work of fiction?” the answer is… no! It almost sounds fictional, right? In fact, when I told my critique partner about my visit to see the corpse flower when it was (almost!) in bloom, he said it sounds like something that should be in one of our stories.
But it’s not! It’s a real plant. The corpse flower is a rare plant that doesn’t bloom often and only for about 24 hours (I believe) when it does. It also smells like rotting meat. Apparently, the main pollinators for this plant are insects that are attracted to that sorta scent, so… it does what it has to do when it blooms to try and keep its species going.
The College of Biological Sciences Conservatory has a corpse flower and Chauncy bloomed this spring. Throughout the last year I’ve developed a little bit of an obsession with plants, so as soon as I heard there was a rare, smelly flower that was about to bloom in the Twin Cities I had to go. The conservatory had special hours in honor of Chauncy, so a friend, my niece, and I made our way out to visit the plant the Saturday before he bloomed.
I absolutely loved our visit to this conservatory. As much as I love the beautiful, polished displays at the Como Zoo Conservatory, this one was special because it’s a working conservatory. There are tight spaces and notes that tell those who tend to the plants how to care for them, but it’s a lot of fun to see all of that.
Also, cold weather tip: if you live in a cold, snowy, barren wasteland like Minnesota during winter and you need a little something to revive your icy soul, go to a conservatory. They have heat and green plants and we may have camped out in the desert room for a while.
But without further ado, let’s get into the photos of some of the plants we saw and I’ll introduce you to Chauncy!
The excitement pulsed as we followed the signs to find the Corpse Flower. (And see: white, snowy, barren wasteland of winter. Good time to escape into a conservatory and pretend you’re on a tropical island/in a cloud forest/sweatin’ it out in the desert.)
We weren’t quite sure where the guest of honor was, but we knew we wanted to see everything the conservatory had to offer, so we went through room-by-room. I should ask Anna what she’s looking at in the water because each time we’ve visited (all of two times) she’s spent time over there while I’ve said hello to these guys:
I have a fascination with carnivorous plants. Doesn’t it look like he’s saying hi? (And now I’ve probably lost all of you. 😂 If I didn’t already with “smelly corpse flower.)
I would love to get into the nursery to see their setup. Everyone says propagation is easy, but I have yet to be successful. Once we saw what looked like the start of roots forming, but a few weeks after they appeared the entire thing wilted.
After looking at some other beautiful flowers, the room that Chauncy was in finally cleared out and we had a chance to meet him.
When we saw Chauncy he hadn’t bloomed yet and he didn’t smell. We were there on Saturday and they predicted he’d bloom on Tuesday, so my friend went back that evening. He still hadn’t bloomed, but apparently he smelled like dead mice and it was a pungent aroma. I have to say I’m not incredibly sad I missed out on the scent, but it was cool to have a chance to see Chauncy.
And after we spent some time with the person who was stationed by Chauncy to learn more about corpse plants we continued touring the conservatory.
And if you made it this far, that’s really kind of you! Are you a fellow plant nerd, too? 🤓Here’s a vlog so that you can join us on our adventure!
And if you’d like, you can Pin this post and return to it later!