The news is filled with stories about a plant that bloomed late yesterday at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Known as amorphophallus titanum and nicknamed “Baby,” the species is remarkable for its rarity, its size and its aroma, which is said to smell like putrid, rotting meat.
The amorphophallus titanum, popularly called the “corpse flower,” takes decades to bloom (this is the first flowering in New York since 1939) and the blossom lasts only a few days. Hordes of admirers and reporters have been flocking to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, all of them anxious to get a whiff of Baby’s remarkable smell.
The plant’s single flower is enormous and strangely beautiful. Unfortunately, most of the visitors who arrived today in search of its famed stench couldn’t smell a thing. The gardeners overseeing the plant patiently explained that once the flower blooms the smell comes “in waves” during the first eight or so hours. “You should have been here at 6:00 this morning,” said one. “It really stank then.”
One well-heeled suburban matron asked a security guard to describe the plant’s aroma. “Well,” he began, “you know what a dead rat smells like?”
“Good God, no!,” she exclaimed, recoiling in horror.
The guard pondered for a moment, trying to think of another example to offer the woman. Finally, he turned to another visitor. “Do you know what a dead rat smells like?,” he asked.
“Of course,” came the swift reply. “I’m from Brooklyn!”