ENCINITAS, Calif. — It was just a few months ago, when the corpse flower at the San Diego Botanic Garden released the smell of death. Are you ready for round two? In this Zevely Zone, I introduce you to the Voodoo Lily.
Just when you thought it was safe to take a deep breath, we are hours away from the attack of the amorphophallus konjac.
Last November, when another stinky flower called the corpse flower bloomed, John Clements, the Director of Gardens said the stench made his eyes water. "We actually have footage of that plant gassing off. You can literally see waves of gas aerosolized," said John.
I asked him why people are fascinated with flowers that smell bad. "I think we expect flowers to smell sweet and wonderful like perfume and then we have one that knocks our socks off and it smells like rotten meat," said John.
The amorphophallus titanum came and went, but pinch your nose; it's little stinky cousin, the Voodoo Lily is just hours away from releasing its first stink bomb ever. It was planted three years ago. I asked if a smaller flower meant a smaller stench. "You know it will kick it out a strong aroma," said John.
Not every flower can smell like a rose and the corpse flower proved it just months ago. It blooms every three to seven years. John is always asked the describe the sour smell. "The smell of a junior high locker room then maybe rotten fish with a little a little bit of rotten onion thrown in and then it went to rotten infested maggot infested meat," said John.
I first met the corpse flower in 2017. "This happens when the plant wants it to happen," said the garden's former CEO Julian Duval when he introduced me to the plant that comes alive only to smell like death. "It doesn't just stink, it's like suddenly what happened? Who let that one go you know that kind of thing," said Julian.
It was 2006, eleven years before when the corpse flower bloomed before another large gathering. "The zoo has pandas, we have the corpse flower, I'm serious this is our panda," said Julian.
That smell attracts the nastiest of pollinators. "Beetles and flies and other things that are going to consume dead flesh," said John.
We call amorphophallus titanum the corpse flower, but the newest stink bomb goes by the name Voodoo Lily. You'll only have Wednesday, Thursday Friday and maybe Saturday to stick your nose where it doesn't belong. "It's a good time to come visit because it's really a four-day bloom," said John who plans to take a big long smell. "Oh, absolutely, because it's so unusual sometimes it's a once in a lifetime thing," said John. "I don't go dumpster diving, but I do put my nose in flowers."
If you'd like to take a whiff of the Voodoo Lily, the San Diego Botanic Garden is open from 9-5. For more information click here.
Watch more Zevely Zone content below: