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Thousands Gather To Witness Corpse Flower In Bloom

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It's described as smelling like rotting flesh.

The extremely rare Corpse Flower is in bloom at Phipps Conservatory and thousands of people are lining up to take a sniff.

"I just heard somebody say cheese. I've heard wet gym socks. I kind of think it reminds me of the smell you see when you drive by a dead deer along the road," Curator of Horticulture Ben Dunigan said.

Those are just a few of the words people are using to describe the scent coming from the Corpse Flower.

The stench is so bad that some young visitors held their noses. However, others weren't as offended.

"I don't think it was that stinky. I think it was a little less stinky than I thought. Well, sometimes it smells stinky and sometimes it doesn't," Bryan McShea said.

"I was expecting it to be a little [more stinky]. It has a sort of unpleasantness to it, but nothing sort of repulsive that I would consider corpse-like," Vicky McElroy said.

The Corpse Flower is known for its odd, rotting flesh smell and it is attracting huge crowds.

It's one of the largest, rarest and most impressive flowers in nature. It only blooms every six to 10 years.

This particular flower is named Romero after "Night of the Living Dead" filmmaker George Romero. It arrived at Phillps three years ago and this is the first time it has bloomed.

"We have been waiting. It's almost like waiting for a baby to be born, so this is a very exciting day for us," exhibit coordinator Jordyn Melino said.

If you want to check it out and get a good whiff, you have to hurry. It's only in bloom for 24 to 48 hours, which means it will likely close Thursday morning.

"For me, as a horticulturist, this is the Super Bowl of plants. This is just, this is it, so come on down and see it," Dunigan said.

Phipps is staying open until 2 a.m. to give people a chance to see Romero.

Also, showings of "Night of the Living Dead" will take place at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.


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