SAN JOSE -- A titan arum, commonly known as a corpse flower, began to bloom in San Jose State University's Biology Department tropical greenhouse, university officials said Wednesday.
The 8-year-old flower, named Terry Titan, began to unfurl on Tuesday night, with the peak bloom expected Wednesday morning. The bloom is expected to stay open for 24 to 36 hours.
The nine-foot-tall flower has already begun to smell like rotting flesh, university officials say, harkening back to its name as the corpse flower. The plant can often reach over 10 feet in height.
"The plant emits a smell similar to a decomposing body to attract beetles and flies that pollinate it," greenhouse manager Lars Rosengreen said.
The flower has become a science department superstar with a live streaming camera and students trekking to the greenhouse to take pictures, draw sketches and to breathe it all in.
When asked what it smelled like to him, student David Aguilar replied, "Um, decay."
Others were less offended.
"It's not as bad as I was mentally preparing myself for," said student Kate Forrest.
The plant, which is extremely rare with only about 1,000 plants in the wild, is considered to be the first corpse flower bloom in recorded history in Silicon Valley. Habitat loss has contributed in making the plant even less common.
The corpse flower is the largest unbranched inflorescence, or cluster of flowers on a main stem, in the world.
The greenhouse is not open to the public, but the bloom can be watched on a livestream at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPohKX19x9g.
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