Botanic Garden’s Corpse Flower Failed to Bloom

The Chicago Botanic Garden’s corpse flower failed to bloom and emit its odor, disappointing many people, CBS Chicago reports. It also did not release the “stink” that the flower is known for, even after scientists manually opened it.

The corpse flower, which has been nicknamed “Spike”, had been predicted by some to bloom after 12 years of growing and preparation, causing many observers to wonder why it failed to do so.


Patrick Herendeen, a research scientist that had been working with Spike, told CBS that the outer sheath of the flower was rubbery, which indicated that Spike would fall short of expectations. The sheath had to be amputated from the plant, which caused the female flowers to dry up. Their male counterparts are premature and will be frozen and preserved so they can be used in pollination attempts in the future.


According to NBC Chicago, the corpse flower didn’t bloom because it lacked the necessary energy. It used all of the energy that it had before the bloom cycle finished. This is also the reason that Spike’s sheath was rubbery.


Despite this disappointment in the plant’s development, CBS reported that the crowds remained excited and Spike is viewed as a success. During the last three weeks in which the corpse flower was publicly displayed, 57,000 people came to the botanic gardens to view it. Because the greenhouses were filled up, some of those viewing it had to do so from a theater in the area that was playing a live feed of it.

“It’s a great story,” said Tim Pollack, a floriculturist who worked at the botanic garden with spoke for more than ten years. “We’re overwhelmed.” Spike is just one of the botanic garden’s nine corpse flowers.


“Corpse flower” is a moniker of Amorphophallus titanum, given to the plant because it smells like a corpse. It’s axiomatic that the plant will emit its famous odor if it blooms, and “Spike” let down some fans at the garden for not doing so.

It is indigenous to Sumatra. As NBC Chicago mentioned, the corpse flowers are powered from the sun’s energy and are the world’s largest blooming structures.

Nature is…interesting. We might have missed Spike the Corpse Flower, but we have the Atmoph window to showcase flowers around the world: