LIVE: Corpse Flower at Ole Miss could Bloom Any Minute

Published 3:29 am Saturday, June 16, 2018

A corpse flower, or titan arum, will soon blossom in the atrium of the University of Mississippi’s Thad Cochran Research Center.

The university announced the plant was blooming on Thursday, and it is expected to fully blossom sometime this weekend. The corpse flower has the largest unbranched flower cluster in the world. It towers at five feet tall, with a bright green exterior that will soon reveal a deep burgundy blossom.

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As its name implies, the blossom is accompanied by the scent of rotting flesh.

Lal Jayaratna, a research and development botanist with the Maynard W. Quimby Medicinal Plant Garden of the National Center for Natural Products Research, where the plant is usually housed, said he believed the plant will blossom Thursday or Friday. 

The plant is native to western Sumatra and western Java in Indonesia, and is grown on campus as a collection and also for research by NCNPR scientists on the chemistry of different parts of the plant. The garden is home to three mature titan arums and a few others.

“NCNPR has a medicinal plant garden and in greenhouses we have a collection of exotic plants or plants that have medicinal properties,” Jayaratna said. “This plant is a very unique and fascinating plant which gets lot of attention when it blooms, but medicinally it is not much used. We have done some chemical work to analyze the content when it flowers and identified the compounds responsible for smell of this plant.”

The titan arum usually takes about five or more years to start flowering. It then subsequently blooms infrequently, once in three or four years, and even more rarely in cultivation. The last time a corpse flower bloomed on the Ole Miss campus was 2014, when two plants bloomed within weeks of each other.

To watch a live feed of the corpse flower, follow this link: