Romero the Corpse Flower Reeks Havoc @ Phipps

Published On June 3, 2016 | By Missy Schrott | Community
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Photo Creds: Phipps

The Corpse usually rises at night…

Last time he came, he terrorized Pittsburgh with his stench for 20 hours–starting at 6PM, and continuing on until 2PM the next day.

He’s coming again. They say he could be bigger than ever. And he’s getting closer…

With a smell to wake the dead, Romero – Phipps Conservatory’s Corpse Flower – threatens to bloom again this June. Named for George A. Romero, director of the 1968 cult film “Night of the Living Dead”, the flower is best known for giving off the nauseating scent of rotting flesh.

Though he almost certainly will open before the end of June, Romero retains the element of surprise, and it is impossible to predict the exact date of his bloom.

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1968 film “Night of the Living Dead”

The corpse flower, officially called the Amorphophallus Titanum, is one of the largest and rarest flowers in the world. It usually only flowers every six to 10 years; and when it does, its blood red bloom only lasts between 12 and 48 hours, emitting the putrid stink of decay.

The flower’s rancid stench – which contains substances found in rotting fish, Limburger cheese, sweaty socks, and human feces – serves to attract beetles and flies to pollinate it. And its horrific mimicry goes beyond smell; the plant increases its temperature to that of the human body, and its crimson frills imitate the appearance of meat.

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Director George A. Romero with his namesake in 2013

Typically, the bloom of the corpse flower grows to be six to eight feet tall, and up until he flowers, Romero will continue growing two to six inches per day. As of today, he stands at 56 inches – the very height he was the last time he bloomed in August of 2013.

Phipps welcomed more than 12,000 attendees over the course of two days during Romero’s last bloom and is ready to embrace even bigger crowds this time with extended evening hours beginning June 4. (8PM daily; 10PM on Fridays)

Romero is currently staked out at Phipps’s Palm Court. And with the conservatory’s live stream Corpse Cam, you can keep tabs on his progress!

Check out a time lapse of Romero’s previous bloom below; and be sure to pop into Phipps this June to catch a glimpse of his rebirth:

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