Wherefore art thou Romero - This smelly flower has returned! @ Phipps Conservatory

Romero the Corpse Flower at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has bloomed for the second time in 3 years! This extremely rare and exotic flower opened its petals around 8:00 PM EST on June 8th, 2016.  

Romero Corpse Flower, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh - M.Quigley

Romero Corpse Flower, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh - M.Quigley

Amorphophallus titanum is known for the gut-wrenching odor it emits during it's bloom cycle, compared to that of rotting flesh.  For that reason, the plant is nick-named Romero, after George Romero, the director of the horror classic Night of the Living Dead, which was filmed in Pittsburgh. 

The plant was thought to to bloom once every 6-10 years.  The conservatory was surprised to see the plant starting it's bloom cycle again after only 3 years.  By June 8th the plant had grown to a heigh of 65".

During its cycle, the plant mimics a dead animal to attract bugs to pollinate it.  In addition to emitting a perfume of dead bodies, the plant heats up to almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit and colors itself blood-red.  After a short flowering period, the plant withers to the ground, and restarts its entire growth cycle. 

Romero Corpse Flower, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh - M.Quigley

Romero Corpse Flower, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh - M.Quigley

The conservatory was unsure how long the flower would be in bloom, and predicted a 12-48 hour window to see the flowering stage. 

By 8AM EST on June 9th, the blood-red spire had already collapsed backwards upon itself, and the color had faded to a dark purple.   Regardless, the plant still impressed!  Obviously, the most unique part was the smell.  I couldn't commit to what I thought rotting flesh smelled like before I arrived.  The odor was no longer permeating the entire room by 8AM,  but the stench made me feel dizzy when I stood next to the plant. As it turns out, zombies smell like really old roadkill.  

The conservatory also had a "leafing" stage Amorphophallus titanum on display next to Romero to show this stage of the plant's life.

Romero Corpse Flower, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh - M.Quigley

Romero Corpse Flower, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh - M.Quigley

The leafing stage disguises itself as a tree to ward off predators.  

More information can be found on the Phipps Conservatory website.  The conservatory will be open until 2AM EST on June 9th to see the plant.  Hurry, the plant is already thought to be in its decaying process! 

Romero Corpse Flower, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh - M.Quigley

Romero Corpse Flower, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh - M.Quigley

Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh - M.Quigley

Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh - M.Quigley

HAPPY GALLIVANTING!

Madeline Quigley
June 9th, 2016. 

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