Rare corpse flower to bloom at WSU Vancouver

Clark County

It takes between 7 and 10 years for a corpse flower to bloom for the first time

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — A rare event is about to unfold in Vancouver.

A 17-year-old plant is about to bloom for the first time at Washington State University Vancouver but it’s not just any plant — it’s a titan arum, also known as a corpse flower.

The corpse flower is one of the largest and rarest flowering plants in the world with a single bloom emerging after about a decade of growth. After its initial flowering, the plant only graces the world with a bloom once every 4 years or so for the remainder of its 40-year lifespan.

Native to the limestone hills of the Sumatran rainforests, the corpse flower is named for another peculiar trait: its odor, which has been compared to the smell of a rotting animal.

So what’s one of these bizarre plants doing in Vancouver, you ask?

Steve Sylvester, associate professor of molecular biosciences at WSU Vancouver, planted a seed from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s corpse plant in 2002. Sylvester raised the plant in a pot on his desk until it grew too large and had to be moved to a stairwell in one of the buildings on campus.

The university says the plant, affectionately nicknamed “Titan VanCoug,” is likely a late bloomer because part of its structure cloned, delaying the blooming process. Titan VanCoug has also had as many as 4 leaves at once — quite the accomplishment, considering corpse plants only put up one leaf at a time.

The plant is on public display through the end of its bloom. Once the flower opens, it will last between 24 and 48 hours.

Check on the plant via live webcam.

Visitors are welcome between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Hours may change if the bloom occurs over the weekend.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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