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Cincinnati Zoo welcomes Morticia, a corpse flower preparing to unleash a powerful stink

Posted at 10:21 PM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 22:21:43-04

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden welcomed a ticking stink bomb to Discovery Forest Wednesday. Her name is Morticia.

The latest addition to the “botanical garden” portion of the zoo is a titan arum corpse flower, one of the world’s rarest, smelliest and most unusual plants. The corpse flower, which naturally grows only in Sumatra, spends years gathering energy before it blooms and releases a smell like — well. It’s right there in the name.

If you’ve never smelled a corpse, the zoo’s Twitter account described the plant’s odor as a delightful combination of Limburger cheese, garlic and smelly feet.

And it smells delicious to Sumatra’s carrion-eating beetles and flesh flies, who come to pollinate the corpse flower during its bloom. After pollination, it wilts and returns to hibernation.

If you’re hoping to get a whiff yourself, you’ll have to be patient and fast. When Morticia blooms — and the zoo hasn't disclosed when that might be — she’ll stink for about a day before going back to sleep, potentially for up to 10 years.

Anyone hoping to see her in the meantime can head to Discovery Forest in the zoo’s Education building.