We don’t when it could happen, or even if it will happen, but it looks like another stinky corpse flower might bloom in the next several weeks at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
Morticia, the plant that might produce a flower, is on display now.
What might be even more interesting is that Fester, another Amorphophallus titanium, has produced an unusual set of five leaves. Fester is also on display.
Hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily and 10 a.m-9 p.m. Tuesdays through the end of August. The Botanical Gardens is located at 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo.
Admission is $11 for adults, $10 for seniors (ages 62 and older), $9 for students (ages 13 and older with ID), $6 for children ages 3 – 12 and free for Botanical Gardens members and children 2 and under.
Will Morticia be a flower or leaf?
When the first growth appears, it can be hard to predict if the plant will become a leaf or flower, according to the Botanical Gardens. The differences between how Morticia and Fester are growing indicate that Morticia may send up a flower.
Fester showed signs of growth about five weeks ago, which resulted in leaves rather than a flower.
Morticia showed signs of growth about three weeks ago and is growing at a much slower rate. Because Morticia’s coloring and growth shape is different, the horticulture team at the Botanical Gardens believes it will be a flower.
It is hard to predict when and if Morticia would be in full bloom. If Morticia is a flower, their best estimate is that Morticia would be in full bloom within five to seven weeks.
Five leaf structures is unusual
Corpse flowers usually get one leaf structure at a time, but Fester has produced five all at once.
“Our horticulture staff believes that something may have damaged the original growth, so Fester had to send up five leaf structures to ‘exert’ the energy within the corm,” said Erin Grajek, vice president of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. (The corm is like a bulb.)
The leaf structures can grow up to 20 feet tall and 16 feet across.
Leaf structures will last until the corm has gathered energy, which can take many months or even more than a year. The leaf structure then dies off and it will go dormant for a few months. This process repeats until it has enough stored energy for a bloom.
In between blooming, the plants go through a cycle of dormancy and create a large, compound tree-like leaf. Over time, the old leaf dies and a new one grows in its place. The leaf structures collect energy so the plant can bloom again in the future. The leaf structure has no offensive smell.
Background on Buffalo’s corpse flowers
In early July 2014, the Botanical Gardens acquired three Amorphophallus titanum corms: Morty, Fester and Morticia. Since then, Morty has produced one leaf structure and two flowers. Fester has produced one leaf and one flower and Morticia has produced one leaf. See more articles and videos about the corpse flowers here.
Amorphophallus titanium, commonly known as corpse flowers, are native to the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. They are famous for the horrible scent they give off while in bloom– it smells like rotting flesh. Corpse flowers typically bloom every 6-10 years, making it a rare sight to see and smell. When the plant blooms, the flower and stench will only last 36-48 hours.
Updates will be available on the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Facebook page, their Twitter and Instagram accounts @buffalogardens, and through Morty’s Twitter account @Mortystinks. Like and follow to get regular updates. Use #corpseflower and @buffalogardens when posting.