A person holding a child smiles while the child holds their nose. To the right is the corpse flower, which emits a rotting-flesh smell.

Once again, GVSU's blooming corpse flower draws crowds

The GVSU corpse flower may have surprised everyone by producing its second-ever, rotting-flesh-odor bloom years earlier than anyone expected , but one thing was not a surprise: It has been a sensation.

When the rare Amorphophallus titanum, lovingly called "The Beast" by those at GVSU, recently showed signs of blooming at its home in the Barbara Kinschi Greenhouse, Biology Department representatives asked officials at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park if they could display the blooming plant instead. They agreed.

Those at GVSU were mindful that when the plant last bloomed in 2022, thousands of people came to the Allendale Campus to experience the odorous wonder. They knew they didn't have the staffing during the slower time on campus to accommodate those crowds again, leading to their outreach to loan the plant to Meijer Gardens.

At one point, Meijer Gardens reported a three-hour wait to see the rare tropical plant, which is native to Sumatra and smells like rotting flesh to attract pollinators such as carrion beetles and flesh flies.

The full bloom is fleeting, having already reached its full impact as June 18 dawned. By June 19, it was closing back up.

Once again, The Beast has fascinated its visitors.

A person smells a large flower.
Westin Essenburg, 12, smells the GVSU corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum), named "The Beast" at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids on June 18.
A sign surrounded by plants and flowers says "I smelled The Beast" #GVSU | #MeijerGardens | #CorpseFlower. The sign also contains the logos for Grand Valley State University and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
Grand Valley's corpse flower is known as "The Beast." It last bloomed in 2022 and wasn't expected to bloom again until the end of the decade at the earliest.
A person holds their hand over their mouth while scowling. They are standing next to a sign that says "Corpse flower On loan from: Grand Valley State University Biology Department "The Beast"  Amorphophallus titanum
Brandy Erickson reacts to the GVSU corpse flower.
A line long line of people is formed with reflections seen in the floor.
Meijer Gardens officials reported long waits to see the corpse flower.
Two people smile while taking a selfie. The corpse flower is in the background.
Two people smile while taking a selfie. The corpse flower is in the background.
The Beast was the perfect backdrop for selfies. At left, Sumair Hassan takes a picture with daughter, Zara, 10. Charles and Elizabeth Elwood, right, take a picture with the GVSU corpse flower.
Light filters through the reddish color of a large flower.
A close up of a large corpse flower with a yellow vertical center, purply outer sheaths and a green stalk.
A closeup of the green outside, purply inside and yellow center of the corpse flower.
The GVSU corpse flower was donated in 2015 by Tim Strickler, professor emeritus of biomedical sciences.
A person laughs while holding their child, who is holding their hand over their nose. The corpse flower is in the background.
Annie Huff holds her son, Silas Huff-Popowych, 4, as they react to the GVSU corpse flower.
A person holds their nose while posing in front of the corpse flower. A Grand Valley State University Biology Department sign is on the ground.
Charles Burke, president and CEO of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, poses for pictures in front of the GVSU corpse flower.


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