Corpse Flower, Amorphophallus titanum, Grimace. No matter what you call it, it smells. And you should take the time to go see it before it disappears.
Grimace is the resident corpse flower of the Nicholas Conservatory. It is called that because once the flower blooms, it smells of rotten meat or burnt sugar when it opens.
It is a very unusual plant. It will take 7 to 20 years for a corpse flower to bloom the first time, then it will flower only once every 3 to 10 years thereafter. It is also huge. It can grow to 10 feet in height and several feet in diameter.
The grimace first bloomed in 2018, so we’re lucky it will reappear after just 3 years. If you’re like me and missed the Grimace show in 2018, be sure to check it out this week as there’s one more weird thing about the Corpse Flower, the flowers only last 2-3 days. And once he’s gone, it could take another decade for him to come back, so plan that trip now.
- The Latin name for the plant is Amorphophallus titanum
- Grimace is 18 and was donated to NCG by Huntington Botanical Gardens in California in 2011.
- In 2018, Grimace was 80.37 inches tall and 48 inches wide
- On April 3, 2018, Grimace was repotted and the bulb weighed 66.8 pounds
- The species was discovered in 1878 by the Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari
- The scent of the flower helps attract flesh flies and scavengers, which pollinate the flower as they search for rotting meat.
- The plant is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Regular Nicholas Conservatory rates apply to see Grimace. You can watch a live feed from Grimace on their Facebook page here. While you’re at it, don’t forget to visit their Savage Garden exhibit which features a bunch of carnivorous plants that will thrill kids of all ages (including me.)