From the Detroit Free Press
Nancy Petritis traveled from Chicago this week to fulfill a 10-year quest to see a corpse. A corpse flower, that is. Amorphophallus titanium. Inside the Plant Biology Conservatory at Michigan State University, Petritis leaned in today to take a deep whiff of the 6-foot-high rare flower – a scent some say resembles a rotting corpse. “I’m here to pay my last respects,” Petritis deadpanned. Petritis wasn’t alone. She was among hundreds who flocked to the plant exhibit today – some standing in line outside in the rain for 30 minutes – for a rare glimpse of the flower, which blooms only every few years to emit its scent.
The plant, which MSU has owned since 1995, last bloomed in 2010, said its caretaker, Jan Szyren, an MSU horticulturist. The blooming only lasts between 24 and 36 hours. Szyren said the flower’s peculiar scent is designed to attract beetles that pollinate the flower. After waiting in line, most people eagerly put their nose to the plant to savor the scent. Some turned their nose up after a whiff. Others lingered over it like it was a fresh bouquet of roses. Riley Shandel, 8, of Lansing, said he thought it smelled like “trash.” His 4-year-old sister, Pearl, disagreed. “It smells like poop,” she said. Showings continue Tuesday until 8 p.m. None are for the rest of the week so far.
Scott Davis is a reporter for the Lansing State Journal.
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