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The Corpse Flower Will Hit “Peak Smell” Between 10 AM and 2 PM

Photograph via US Botanic Garden.

A corpse flower at the US Botanic Garden is blooming right now and will be at its most pungent between 10 AM and 2 PM. The flower, a giant plant that blooms once every few years, is one of the Botanic Garden’s leading attractions, despite the foul odors it gives off.

The flower started opening early Tuesday morning, the Botanic Garden reported on its Facebook page. The blooming process begins with the plant’s large, purplish-red petals peeling back and unleashing its aroma. The flower’s smell has been described as “that odor you see at the bottom of a dumpster on a hot summer day” and rotting flesh.

Still, the flower, amorphophallus titanum, has cult status in the botany world, and the Botanic Garden expects large crowds. Lines for the garden’s last blooming corpse flower, which stunk up the place in 2013, drew hour-long lines.

Think of today as peak bloom, but for a flower that smells like dead bodies.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.