HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — A flower that got its nickname from its putrid smell is started to bloom Friday at Dartmouth College for the first time since 2011.
Named Morphy, the titan arum — or corpse flower — began opening at Friday afternoon at the Ivy League college's Life Sciences Greenhouse. The 7 ½-foot flower is expected to be fully open on Saturday before it starts to collapse on Sunday.
Morphy has a long pointy stalk with a skirt-like covering. It's green on the outside and deep red on the inside when it opens.
Kim DeLong, the greenhouse manager at Dartmouth, said Morphy was starting to smell like a burning cigar Friday afternoon. At full strength, its odor has been described as a cross between a decaying animal and urine.
DeLong said she's planning to pollinate the flower Saturday, using two paintbrushes and tweezers.
"Way down on the bottom, we're going to cut a hole. It's not going to hurt the plant. And then we're going to collect pollen and pollinate the female flowers, and hopefully we're going to get seeds in a year, once they mature," DeLong said.
The idea is to share seeds and pollen with other conservatories, parks and greenhouses around the world, she said.
Titan arum is native to Sumatra's equatorial rain forests and is among the most popular flowers when it blooms. DeLong said it is endangered because of deforestation to make room for palm oil plantations.
"We want to do what we can to try to save it," she said.
The greenhouse will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Link to the live webcam: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~grnhouse/morphy.html