Rare corpse lily bloom to cause big stink at Volunteer Park Conservatory

corpse flowerSeattle’s mysterious corpse lily (Amorphophallus titanum) is in the early stages of blooming at the Volunteer Park Conservatory, on loan from University of Washington Biology.

Native to the equatorial rain forests of Sumatra, the corpse lily is the world’s largest inflorescence and can grow up to 12 feet tall in the wild. The nickname refers to its powerful stench, likened to that of rotting flesh, which attracts carrion-seeking pollinators.

Retired UW Biology Greenhouse manager Doug Ewing sowed his first corpse flower seeds in 1993. Then in 1999 the first-ever flower blossomed at UW. Though this specimen is smaller, it is special to UW Biology. This is the first corpse lily to bloom from a batch of seed that resulted from pollinating two flowers at UW twelve years ago. This specimen follows two others that were displayed at the Conservatory.

In the horticultural tradition of naming corpse lilies, this specimen has been named Dougsley in honor of Doug Ewing. The specimen will be at the Conservatory until flowering is complete.

The Volunteer Park Conservatory is located at 1400 E Galer St., at the north end of Volunteer Park. It is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there is a $4 admission charge ($2 for youth age 13-17; free for kids 12 and younger).

Connect to the Friends of the Conservatory about this event via http://www.volunteerparkconservatory.org/return-of-the-corpse-flower/ and through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivan.vonkatzen.