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A Big Stinking Premiere

Wolfgang the corpse flower blooming at JCRA

Welcome to the world, Wolfgang! NC State’s youngest corpse flower, or titan arum, bloomed for the first time at the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) in Raleigh. The plant — which is 74 inches tall and 35 inches wide — was most impressive, and stinkiest, early in blooming.

This baby is 8 years old and the fourth campus corpse flower. You’ll smell Wolfgang before you meet him. His rotting flesh smell can be detected up to a half-mile away by pollinators like carrion beetles and flesh flies, along with humans nearby. 

Wolfgang, like all corpse flowers, has one of the largest flowering structures in the plant kingdom and may grow 6 to 8 feet high and reach a diameter of 3 feet.

Corpse flowers have a complex life cycle. It takes at least seven years for the corpse flower to bloom for the first time. After blooming, the plant will go dormant and move through leaf cycles until it restores its energy supply to rebloom – its main goal for existing. A typical bloom ranges from 4 to 8 feet tall. As it blooms, the corpse flower heats up to help spread its smell so that it attracts bugs to aid pollination.