If you’ve been anywhere near the Denver Metro area this week you’ve probably heard about Stinky the corpse flower.
Corpse flower, you say? Yes, corpse flower. Also known as Amorphophallus titanum, the corpse flower is somewhat of a celebrity in the plant world (and not because its name translates to “giant misshapen phallus”!). What makes this plant so special is that it takes 7-10 years for it to bloom for the first time, the bloom lasts around 48 hours, and then it most likely won’t bloom again for another 7-10 years.
Oh, and when it blooms it lets off an odor akin to that of rotting flesh.
Denver has been all abuzz this week with news of the Botanic Gardens’ corpse plant’s imminent opening. With a webcam, nightly updates on the news, and even it’s own hashtag (#stinkyDBG), this thing had a lot of people talking. Not since the Rockies made it into the World Series a few years ago have so many Denverites been glued to their screens instead of out playing outside.
The Denver Botanic Gardens are one of my favorite places in the city and a regular haunt for the little guy and I. When I got the email from them last night saying that the flower had bloomed and members would be granted early access to see it before the masses arrived I thought, why the hell not?
We battled downtown traffic and made it down to the Gardens around 8:00. I thought we would go in, see and smell the flower, and get out before the Gardens were open to the public. I thought we’d surely be in and out of there in less than an hour. Apparently I dramatically underestimated the number of members that the Gardens have.
When homeboy and I arrived the nice woman at the entrance told us that the wait was three hours. Three hours?! To see a plant!? I almost turned around right there but decided, because I am apparently an eternal optimist, that she was giving us a worst case scenario prediction. I figured we’d have to wait for maybe an hour. And then I saw that the line just kept going and going and going.
Oh, what the hell, I thought. We got in line.
Have you ever waited in a three-hour line with an almost-three year old? I don’t recommend it. Like, not at all.
The first hour went by pretty smoothly but things headed south not long after that. The second hour was a bit of a struggle and by the third hour it was pure stubbornness that was keeping us there. After all, we didn’t wait in that line for three hours for nothing!
Three and a half hours later, we finally made our way towards Stinky. We got a quick view through the glass, got to snap a few pictures right in front of it, and got a whiff of disappointingly-non-pungent odor. And then we went on our merry way.
On our way out, someone coming in asked if the three hour wait was worth it. I couldn’t lie to them. Was it cool to see something that blooms once a decade? Yes. Was the flower big and smelly? Yes (although not as smelly as expected). Was it fun to be part of the pomp and circumstance? Absolutely.
Was it worth a three hour wait with a cranky toddler? Probably not. But you never know unless you try!