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Behold The Stinky New Corpse Flower Blooming At The Chicago Botanic Garden

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 26, 2016 1:24PM

"Alice," the corpse flower that bloomed at the Chicago Botanic Garden in 2015 (Marielle Shaw/Chicagoist)

Updated at 11 a.m. after talking with a spokesperson for the Chicago Botanic Garden:
Remember Sprout, the new corpse flower at the Chicago Botanic Garden that was on the cusp of blooming last week? Well, she's blooming as of Monday, releasing the stench of death into the air to the delight of onlookers. Onsmellers?

To accommodate all the fans who want to inhale the corpse flower's horrendous smell, the Chicago Botanic Garden is open special hours Tuesday and Wednesday: From 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday, and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. (People will only be admitted to the garden until 1 a.m. today, though.)

If you want a truly pungent visit, though, visit as soon as possible. The scent is already fading slightly.

"The peak is already starting to wane," Garden spokesperson Jasmine Leonas told Chicagoist of the scent. "I was just in there and you can definitely smell it, but it’s not overpowering."

The flower first showed signs of blooming at around 8 p.m. Monday night. The Garden's Senior Director of Systematics and Evoluntionary Biology, Patrick Herendeen, was the first to notice the spathe, or "outer frilly leaf," was curling back, according to Leonas.

The blooming process is a slow one, but the Garden tweeted out a timelapse video of the flower's progress at 4:30 a.m.:

This morning, the Garden team is in the midst of pollinating the corpse flower, which, if successful, will result in corpse flower fruit with seeds, Leonas said. (Alice, the corpse flower that bloomed at the Garden last fall, is currently fruiting.) The pollination process looks like this:

To keep real-time tabs on Sprout as she goes through plant puberty, you can tune into the Garden's corpse flower livestream:

For ongoing updates, check the corpse flower site.