Calling all flower fanatics! San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers has announced that their famous Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum) is currently in bloom. This endangered species is endemic to the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, and fewer than 1,000 species are estimated to remain in the wild. The famous flower is known for its brief blooms, massive size, and of course its pungent odor of rotting flesh… hence the name!
The Conservatory’s specimen, affectionately named Chanel, is on display in the West Gallery. If you time it right, you just may be able to see (and smell) this bloom for yourself. They also have a 24/7 live stream of the bloom on YouTube so you can keep an eye out and grab tickets at the right time. Blooms only last a day or 2.
These flowers usually take 7-10 years to bloom for the first time, and then can re-bloom every 3-5 years afterward, usually in the summer. The Conservatory has had Corpse Flower blooms in the past, the last of which were in 2020 and 2017.
Guests will have a short window to catch the Corpse Flower in action, so make sure to keep an eye on the Conservatory’s Instagram at @conservatoryofflowers for updates and bloom photos.
The Corpse Flower, also known as Amorphophallus titanum or titan arum, is the world’s largest unbranched inflorescence (cluster of flowers on a main stem). This cluster of flowers is wrapped in a tall green spathe, surrounded by a deep burgundy bloom resembling the color and texture of flesh. This, along with the pungent odor and near-human body temperature, help the flower to attract its main pollinators: carrion-eating insects such as dung beetles and flesh flies.
The Conservatory of Flowers is a beautiful, lush green space that’s one of SF’s favorite escapes from city life. Not only is it a national, state, and local landmark, but it’s been curating a vast collection of rare and unusual plants since 1879.
Enjoy this up-close view of some of the world’s most beautiful plants and flowers by making a reservation in advance. They offer free admission every day to San Francisco residents, and free admission to the general public on the first Tuesday of every month. In any case, make sure you reserve online as the Corpse Flower always draws big crowds.
The Conservatory of Flowers is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am to 4:30pm. Find it at 100 John F Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park.
Featured image: @conservatoryofflowers via Instagram