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Rare corpse flower blooms at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Rare corpse flower blooms, attracting hundreds to Como Park Zoo
Rare corpse flower blooms, attracting hundreds to Como Park Zoo 01:39

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Lines were right out the door Thursday, as people waited two hours at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, and it wasn't for a new baby animal. 

"I have never seen it like this, definitely not for a plant," said Como Park Zoo and Conservatory horticulturist Jen Love.    

Its rare bloom and smell that makes Horace the corpse flower earn its name. 

The distinct scent comes from the flower's bloom, which only happens once every seven to 10 years. The worst of the smell started Thursday, with the beginning of the bloom captured on Como's web stream. 

The exact scent is a bit nuanced, Love said, with each visitor picking up distinct fragrance notes. 

"Right up by the flower it was hot garbage," said Sarah Cooper from Minneapolis.    

"Has a bit of a sweet smell to it, but still gross," said Bren Bohlman from Lakeville. 

"Dirty socks or also like a stinky cheese kind of funk," said Love. 

"Most of the time my cat smells better," said Bohlman. 

Its "P.U." serves a purpose: Attracting pollinators like carrion beetles and flies. 

All of it is relatively short-lived. The bloom only lasts about 12 hours. 

Horace may begin to close Friday morning, with the bloom likely completely finishing by Saturday, Love said. 

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