What’s that smell? Rare corpse flower blooms at Toronto Zoo — but it won’t last long


A rare Indonesian plant that only blooms about once a decade and smells like rotting flesh is stinking up the Toronto Zoo.


If you’re eager for a whiff, you better hurry — because Amorphophallus titanum, also called the corpse flower, only blooms for between eight and 36 hours.

Pablo, one of six corpse flowers the zoo has in its collection, opened up late Thursday. People queued for about half an hour to see it, the zoo said on social media. A line-up to experience Pablo in all its smelly glory is expected again on Friday. 

The zoo says it will maintain extended hours throughout the blooming period to ensure that curious observers get a chance to see and smell it. 

The tropical plant usually blooms about once every 10 years. Pablo, however, “bloomed almost four years ahead of schedule,” the zoo said in a news release. 

“It’s the largest and smelliest flower in the world,” curatorial gardener Paul Gellatly said in a video posted online by the zoo last week.

The plant relies on carrion beetles and flies for pollination, which means the smell and look of the flower isn’t as sweet as a normal flower. Instead, the bloom is blood red to simulate “exposed flesh” and the aroma “resembles rotting meat” according to the zoo’s website.

This past July, crowds gathered at Vancouver’s Bloedel Conservatory to witness the surprisingly early bloom of another six-year-old plant.