Chicago Botanic Garden is preparing for the big stink as its six-foot tall corpse flower called Spike gets closer to blooming.
The corpse flower, also known as titan arum, is known for its odd shape, large size and its terrible smell described as a combination of rotting fish, limburger cheese, garlic and smelly feet.
The rainforest flower naturally found in Western Sumatra in Indonesia rarely blooms and the flower at Chicago Botanic Garden dubbed as Spike has been on the spotlight for several weeks now as people wait for it to bloom.
"Our Titan arum, started from seed, took 12 years for its first bloom," the Chicago Botanic Garden wrote in its site. "Once the plant has bloomed, however, the corm is already at a size to support another bloom, so it may take only three to seven years before it stores up enough energy to bloom again-or may rebloom much sooner, every two to three years"
Spike has been moved at the garden's semitropical greenhouse earlier this month and is now the star of a round the clock live stream. Despite the excitement, botanists said that Spike may not yet be ready to bloom.
Julie McCaffrey, from the botanic garden, said that the corpse flower has grown fatter but not taller. It has also started attracting more flies. As of Tuesday afternoon, the flower's temperature was warmer than the semitropical greenhouse, where it now sits, by several degrees.
The flower, however, has not yet done two things that normally characterize it hours before it blooms. Spike does not yet ooze secretion from the seam of the leaves surrounding the flower and it often gives off a minor version of its smell. McCaffrey said that it is likely that the flower will bloom between 12 to 38 hours from 7pm on Tuesday.
Spike has been drawing viewers even without its distinct smell. About 10,000 viewed the flower over the weekend, which brings the total number of viewers to over 38,000 since it went on display. People also start to arrive as early as when the garden opens at 7AM until past 9PM.
Since the smell is strongest during the early hours of the morning, visitors are welcome until 2 am on bloom day albeit they are restricted to the semitropical greenhouse only.
The corpse flower blooms between 24 to 36 hours with the spathe opening up in the late afternoon and the bloom lasting until the next afternoon or the following morning.