Connecticut school’s corpse flower blooms, emits foul smell

Eastern Connecticut State University’s corpse flower bloomed for the first time in years, releasing its famously foul stench for only a brief time.

The flower, known scientifically as Amorphophallus titanum and nicknamed Rhea by ECSU, bloomed this week at the Willimantic school’s greenhouse.

Bryan Connolly, an assistant professor of biology at ECSU, said Rhea came to the school in the 1990s and took about a decade before blooming for the first time. He said the plant now blooms every few years, but the spans in between blooms are difficult to predict.

Connolly said the bloom will only last for up to 48 hours.

“It’s so ephemeral. It’s a real treat,” Connolly told the Hartford Courant. “When it happens, it’s basically a surprise and it only lasts 24 to 48 hours and then it’s gone.”

The school started doing daily live streams of Rhea on YouTube when it became apparent the plant was about to bloom.

Connolly said the unique scent emitted by a blooming corpse flower resembles “a combination of a dead mouse, a rotting cabbage and sewage.”