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Chicago Botanic Garden's stinky plant is ready to bloom

Written by
Cynthia Robinson

Meet Spike, the huge, rare "corpse flower" native to the rainforests on the island of Sumatra in the Indonesian archipelago. This plant, also known as the titan arum, is close to blooming in the semitropical greenhouse section of the Chicago Botanic Garden, and guess what? It stinks. 

Nicknamed the "corpse flower" after its utterly repellent stench (meant to attract carrion beetles and flesh flies, the plant's natural pollinators), 'ol Spike is also attracting plenty of (very much alive) humans. Since the arum doesn't flower often, the event of its bloom is a really big deal. That's why the Chicago Botanic Garden has set up a live stream so people around the world can keep an eye on the flower at all times—no one knows for sure when it will happen!

During peak bloom, the garden will hold extended viewing hours until 2am. So when your friends are asking you to come out for cocktails and you're not really up for it, you have the perfect excuse: the rare wonders of plant science await!

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