Big stinking flower hits its putrid blooming peak at Lauritzen Gardens

Published: Jul. 15, 2019 at 7:56 AM CDT
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Well this stinks! The famed titan arum, replete with its famed and inglorious stench, is open for business in all its odoriferous glory at Lauritzen Gardens.

Known colloquially amongst its closest associates at the Gardens as “The Amazing Stinko” you can hazard a fair guess as to its most notable attribute.

The Amazing S began its bloom cycle 18 days ago and the spathe began to unfurl Sunday morning. The whole blooming business, which is when the nasal assault hits its full “get-a-whiff-o-dis!” stride, will last 24 to 48 hours and then it will collapse. One big punch in the nose and then - Poof!

Alternately on the benchmark tally sheet, on the optical front, the titan arum is known for its great size. Omaha’s resident representative, Mr. Stinko, currently stands an impressive 88” tall and boasts a circumference of 51.75”.

But size doesn’t matter when stench is your signature. There’s a reason they call this thing the corpse flower. And the inflorescence (the blossoming) generates heat too. What better than heat to accompany a nuclear nose-bomb fraught with the spice of putrid things gone rotting.

One adventurous Sunday visitor said, “Well, right now it smells like a dead something."

Another narrowed the field. “I think it smells like dead mice."

Lauritzen Gardens’ Senior Horticulture Director Victoria Schoell-Schafer you can get close enough for a reasonable view but, “If you get even closer it, like, makes your stomach turn."

That wasn’t enough to halt the intrepid. Many captured the experience in pictures. Nothing like a selfie from Big Stink Central to front your holiday cards this year.

Horticulturists planned to pollinate the plant Sunday afternoon and Victoria said, "After 12 hours we'll collect male pollen and then our hope is that the pollen takes. And then you can come back and see fruit on it."


That process takes about 6 months. For now, the main attraction is the abominable scent that haunts the shocked air in the room.

That was the selling point for Shane and Amelia Dieckman.

Shane said, “It's only something that comes up every couple of years or so… we're members out here, we enjoy coming out here. It's a beautiful day for it. The smell of it is a little suboptimal but that's part of the deal."

So if you’re looking for the kind of Sunday frisson born of olfactory assault in the first degree, here are the particulars:

Admission to see this marvel of the plant kingdom is as follows:

Sunday, July 14 – open 9 a.m. until midnight

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., If guests are not participating in Railroad Days the Amazing Stinko! is included with regular garden admission ($10+tax adults, $5+tax children 6-12) and is free for garden members and children 5 and under. Guests purchasing a Railroad Days Pass may purchase an additional ticket to explore the conservatory and see The Amazing Stinko! for $5 per person (guests ages 6+). The conservatory is free for garden members and children 5 and under.

From 5 p.m. to midnight Included with regular garden admission ($10+tax adults, $5+tax children 6-12) and is free for garden members and children 5 and under.

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