Have you ever heard of a Corpse Flower? Scientists call it Titan Arum and there is one set to bloom at the Nashville Zoo this summer.

What is a Corpse Flower?

Considered an endangered plant by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are less than one thousand in the wild. Native to Sumatra, Indonesia, it was first discovered by scientists in the late 1800s.  People all over the world have been fascinated by this plant because like the name Titan suggests, it is enormous. Ranging from eight to twelve feet tall, the massive bloom only happens once every few years.

And when it blooms, it fills the air with a really nasty stench. The goal of the smell is to lure pollinators that are attracted to rotting flesh like beetles and flies.  The blooms only last for three to four days and in that time, the odor is most prominent at night and early morning.

Corpse Flower at Nashville Zoo

On loan from Austin Peay University, this particular corpse flower named Zeus hasn't bloomed since 2022. It is 12 years old and ready to rock and roll.  Apparently there was some storm damage to the greenhouse where it normally lives, so the Nashville Zoo is going to take care of it and have it available for visitors to experience in the meantime.

According to a college spokesperson  "The zoo is well-prepared to care for Zeus, having six titan arums of its own — including one of Zeus’s siblings, Carmen, which bloomed in 2020. The zoo also hosted a corpse flower on loan from a private collection in Franklin that bloomed in April 2021."

Here is a live stream of Zeus who will be in Nashville through the current blooming period and until his greenhouse at Austin Peay is repaired. We need Smell-a-Vision! Or even better, a field trip to the Nashville Zoo!

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Gallery Credit: Stacker