Saturday, July 20, 2024

This rare exotic plant blooms about once a decade, and it’s happening for the 1st time in the GTA

It’s big, smelly and it’s about to become the main attraction at the Toronto Zoo.

A rare Indonesian plant, Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the corpse plant, is expected to bloom some time next week. This will be the first time ever in the Greater Toronto Area, according to the zoo.

The tropical plant usually requires seven to 10 years of growth before blooming for the first time.

“It’s something that’s very special … we’re super excited here.”

The plant relies on carrion beetles and flies for pollination, which means the smell and look of the flower isn’t as sweet as a normal flower. Instead, the bloom is blood red to simulate “exposed flesh” and the aroma “resembles rotting meat” according to the zoo’s website.

Leading up to the 48-hour blooming period, the plant will grow quickly over the next few days — two to three inches a day — until it reaches a height of anywhere between three to four feet.

Since only four or five corpse plants have bloomed in Canada, the zoo expects a long line of curious plant lovers to visit during the flowering period. This past July, crowds gathered at Vancouver’s Bloedel Conservatory to witness the surprisingly early bloom of their six-year-old plant.

Just before it’s ready to open, the zoo will put out a news release and extend visitor hours for the two days the flowering lasts.

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