McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Z_CNHI News Service

November 1, 2013

Despite the smell, Perry-the-plant draws a crowd

ST. PETER, Minn. — Roxanne Skogerboe's visit to the famed corpse flower was short and not sweet. She came in one door of the greenhouse at Gustavus Adolphus College, clasped her hand to her nose, sped past the big plant and shot out the other door.

"It's a cool thing, but I could have done without the smell," said Skogerboe. "I started gagging."

The college's rare Amorphophallus titanum plant, affectionately known as Perry, began blooming Thursday and was likely to be mostly done by Friday. During that short span, people from across Minnesota are expected to have visited this small liberal arts college for a view - and maybe a whiff.

"It's very popular," said chemistry professor Brian O'Brien, who cultivated the plant in 1998 with seeds from a San Francisco physician.

The corpse flower - its name comes from the repulsive scent it emits during the hours after it blooms - is found naturally only in the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. O'Brien said there are probably a few hundred plants cultivated elsewhere.

The flowers live for about 40 years and bloom every three to 10 years. Gustavus has a few other corpse plants, though their blooming stages uncertain.

This much is for sure: The blooming plants are a spectacle. When Perry first bloomed in 2007, about 7,000 visitors came to Gustavus to witness it. During its 2010 bloom, about 5,000 came to see the plant.

This year's visitors, invited to leave their impressions in a book, have compared Perry's smell to boiled cabbage, sauerkraut, poop, stinky shoes, road kill and zombies.

Bruce and Linda Ellefson of St. Peter came to see the plant for the first time, drawn by their son, Adam, a Gustavus student who helps in the greenhouse.

"The smell's not as bad as I thought it would be. It's not overwhelmingly horrible," said Bruce Ellefson said. "It's ironic it bloomed on Halloween. It's very appropriate."

Tim Krohn writes for The Free Press in Mankato, Minn.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
NDN Video
Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.