Corpse Flower Blooms at Orange Coast College

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but this particular flower lives up to its name. A very rare and pungent flower was in full bloom at Orange Coast College this past weekend and drew a large crowd dying to experience its death-like smell.


The Amorphophallus titanum plant is a rare plant species colloquially known as the Corpse Flower. Its exhibition highlighted the rancid smell of the flower as well as its notable beauty. The native flower of Sumatra, Indonesia is currently considered an endangered plant species.


This was a much-anticipated event ever since the plant first came to the Costa Mesa college in 2006. The staff has affectionately nicknamed the plant Little Dougie even though it stands at an impressive 5 feet and weights over 30 pounds. The nickname is attributed to Doug Bennett, executive director of the OCC Foundation. Some corpse flowers have been known to eventually weigh as much as a full grown man, weighing in at as much as 200 pounds.


Corpse flowers have a reputation for being beautiful, but are more well-known for their eye-watering smell. The odor occurs during pollination when beetles transport pollen between male and female plants after being attracted by the smell. The plant normally blooms in the evening and is a rare and anticipated event because the flower can take as much as a decade to make its first bloom. It is also a bloom of notably short duration, clocking in at about 48 hours.


Orange Coast College is known for its botanical garden and horticultural studies program. They offer certificates in horticulture, garden retrofitting and landscape design. The Horticulture Department boasts seven greenhouses, a fruit tree orchard, a tree arboretum and also uses the entire campus landscape to further its botanical studies. The program serves both those who are seeking gardening knowledge for a hobby as well as those who want to enter the thriving Green Industry. The Corpse Flower exhibit is a shining example of their hard work and the accomplishments of their staff in nurturing an endangered plant species far from its natural habitat.


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