In anticipation of the opening of the rancid-smelling flower (nicknamed “Spike,”) the garden amped up the flower’s own Twitter and Facebook page and even trained a live webcam on the bud.
We could also say Spike pulled an Axl Rose, but frankly Jones has more class. Either way, both musicians were infamous for failing to show up for scheduled performances, leaving ticket-buying audiences sitting with nothing to do. (Rose tended to show up but then run off the stage a few minutes into a show. Jones never arrived at all.) This is kinda what happened with Spike, the giant Corpse Flower. Flora fanatics showed up at the Chicago Botanical Gardens to watch the five-foot tall (they can grow up to fifteen) blossom unfurl and poison the air with its putrid perfume, but sadly Spike never delivered. Horticulturalists had to force it open, but that’s not even close to the same thing.
The giant Corpse Flower, or titan arum plant, can take seven years to bloom, but it’s not this overlong gestation period alone that makes the plant a sort of vegetable celebrity. It’s the stench. I’ve never been in the presence of such a blossom, but the Corpse Flower is reputed to stink just like a rotting corpse, a neat trick of evolution designed to lure insects. (We know how creepy-crawlies love them some rotting flesh.) This reminds me of a question I frequently ask myself when watching a zombie flick: How can the living survivors stand to BREATHE with all those zombies around?