One of the weirdest, biggest and smelliest flowers you will ever encounter is in bloom in the Gage Park Greenhouse in Hamilton.
The gigantic corpse flower blooms rarely, every five to ten years or so, but it opened yesterday, and will be a dynamic attraction as the greenhouse reopens after weeks of lockdown.
“It smells like the inside of an ice fishing hut in July when it hasn’t been emptied,” is how Neil Schofield, greenhouse manager vividly describes it.
The corpse flower is in the Aroid family, a group of plants that includes skunk cabbage, calla lily and Jack-in-the-pulpit. Native to the rain forests of Indonesia, it grows up to 8-feet tall. Schofield says the Gage Park plant is just over 6-feet tall.
It’s a gorgeous flower with deep burgundy ribs on the top side, contrasting with lime green on the underside. The bloom is short lived, it will be on the fading side as the greenhouse opens to the public, but even that process is worth viewing. The corpse like smell will also drift in the air, but it will be diminishing as well. The memorable aroma is designed to attract pollinating insects.
The corpse flower was a gift from Niagara Parks and in its natural habitat is under threat from habitat loss.
The Gage Park Greenhouse is open Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m to 4 p.m., maximum capacity will be 25 people. It should be a popular escape, offering a lovely stroll among sculptural tropical plants, and a rare chance to witness a corpse plant in bloom.