The Return of The Corpse Flower:
Edmonton Muttart Conservatory Celebrates Corpse Flowers First Bloom of Gagnus
The Muttart Conservatory proudly shared a stinky treat with Edmonton—the first bloom of Gagnus. Muttart staff has fondly named their corpse flower after the putrid scent it emits while in bloom. Gagnus’s aroma can be described as similar to rotting meat, dirty diapers and outdoor washroom facilities. The Amorphophallus Titanum is found in the wild in Sumatra, Indonesia. The ‘Giant Corpse Flower’ is nature’s tallest flowering plant, but the intrigue doesn’t end there; it is also the stinkiest. When the flower blooms it emits a smell similar to decomposing meat in order to attract pollinators. The foul scent can travel up to 30 metres.
A massive amount of energy and time is needed for the flower to bloom. During its peak growth period, it grows six inches per day. The growth slows to half an inch, to an inch per day before completely stopping. It goes through years of growth and dormancy stages. Growth and dormancy remain in a cycle until finally, sometimes after years, the plant decides to bloom. The giant purple bloom stays open for a very short time, only 1-4 days, with the scent being the strongest the first day.
The flower last bloomed in 2015 and 2013. In 2013, Putrella became the first corpse flower to bloom in western Canada. This exciting event generated thousands of visitors to the Muttart. Records of over eight-thousand people were in attendance.
On May 25th, Gagnus bloomed at a height of 70 inches/177 cm/5’10”6’1 . Gagnus is eight-years-old and the older sibling to Putrella, the Muttart’s famed Corpse Flower. Vents in the tropical pyramid are adjusted to keep Gagnus smelling pungent for as long as possible. It’s not often that a facility aims to keep a rancid scent contained—a distinct scent oozed throughout the building over the weekend.
The Muttart’s success of four corpse flowers within four years is quite a big deal; considering there have been fewer than 200 corpse flower blooms recorded in conservatories around the world. The Muttart has mastered caring for corpse flowers.
The conservatory extended it’s hours to ensure everyone had a chance to visit the flower; Friday the facility closed at 11pm, both Saturday and Sunday had hours of 7am to 9pm. Numbers are yet to be recorded, but the Muttart is expecting more than 5,000 visitors to have visited the conservatory to witness the uniqueness of the corpse flower. Here’s hoping all those whom wished to see, and smell, get a whiff worth remembering.