The spookily-named Corpse Flower is about to bloom in the University of Leicester’s Botanic Garden – just in time for Hallowe’en.
Otherwise known as Amorphophallus konjac, the plant is growing in the garden’s Tropical Glasshouse but will only bloom for a very short time.
The flower gives off an odour that resembles rotting flesh and death, hence its name.
Head Gardener June Saddington said: “You can definitely smell it before you see it but it will be a wonderful burgundy colour when it’s blooms fully. Sadly, however, it will only last around a week before wilting back for the leaves to take over so visitors should catch it while they can.”
Corpse Flowers are meant to attract pollinators, like dung beetles, flesh flies and other carnivorous insects to help ensure the continuation of the species with the smell and dark burgundy colour imitating a dead animal in order to attract these insects.
The insects think the flower may be food, fly inside, find there’s is nothing to eat, and fly off covered in pollen, ensuring its ongoing pollination. Once the flower has bloomed and pollination is complete, the flower collapses.
June added: “We grew it from seed around five years ago. It loves warm, humid environments and that’s why the Tropical Glasshouse is perfect for it. Its natural habitat is Yunnan in South Western China so it’s important we keep it in this location. We’re really pleased that it’s mature enough to flower and its timing is perfect given Hallowee’en is just around the corner.”
The plant’s energy is stored in the corm below the soil with other common names for it being Devils Tongue and Voodoo Lily.
Glasshouse opening times are: Monday to Friday –10am to 3pm.