BLOOM! [Corpse Flower]

July 23, 2010

Well, Houston – the stank is upon us.

We got the call at 4:30 this morning, with the news that those of you who were queing up to see her  overnight already knew – Lois is a stinky, stinky plant.

Seriously. She smells. Bad.

So bad that staff and media in the gallery with Lois are availing themselves of gas masks to cope. And we’re not even to peak stink yet. Lois’ spadix (the tall center spike) is heating up – and that heat is what helps the stench to spread. As of 7 am, the spadix was 90 degrees, while the surrounding environment was a mere 81. Zac has also measured Lois height a final time – and she stands at 69.75 inches tall.

It’s a BLOOM! See the rest of the updated Flickr photos from this morning.

If you’re coming to see Lois this weekend, make sure you get your tickets online – this will reserve a particular time for you – as certain times are selling out in advance.

For the latest updates, check out our Twitter, Facebook and Flickr pages! And, you can share your photos of Lois with us in our Flickr pool!

Erin B
Authored By Erin B Blatzer

Erin is the Director of Business Development at HMNS. In a past life, she was a public relations and online marketing dynamo at HMNS.

23 responses to “BLOOM! [Corpse Flower]”

  1. Melissa G says:

    So, if she isn’t at peak stink, does that mean there is a chance she will open more?

  2. Erin F says:

    There is a chance she will open more – but her shape right now is similar to other “vase” shaped corpse flowers. We initially thought she would be “bell” shaped – which would have produced a wider bloom. Lois is full of surprises!

  3. Susan M says:

    Why won’t you pollinate the female flowers at her base? Wouldn’t that give us more Lois’s to nurture? Will she die after blooming?

  4. Erin F says:

    FPollinating will cause the flower to close prematurely – and we want as many people as want to see Lois to be able to- and also, from what Zac has said, it’s a very difficult process that doesn’t always work. So, we’d hate to pollinate, have her close up right away and then it doesn’t work.

    Lois won’t die – she’ll go through her normal life cycle again next year, and every year until she decides to bloom again. Corpse Flowers live for about 40 years.

  5. Melissa says:

    Do they usually take about 10 years to bloom again?

    P.S.- thanks for answering all our questions, your team rocks!

  6. KZ says:

    I read on that the smell only last the 1st 12 or so hours. Is this true? Also, I’d LOVE to bring my daughter in town to see it (plus I’d love to see it myself) but can’t get there until after the weekend. Will she still be full-size on Monday/Tuesday? Will the smell still be in the air? (Don’t think ny 3 year old will like that.) Thanks!

  7. Megan says:

    If I can’t see her this weekend and my only options are tonight or monday night, what would be your suggestion?

  8. N Vogel says:

    I was wondering how pollination was going to be done. I didn’t see the museum releasing a horde of carrion beetles to do the job. Pity. All that work Lois did and she doesn’t get any babies….

  9. John K. says:

    Maybe you answered this question already, but how did the plant get the name of “Lois”?

  10. Erin F says:

    Hi John,

    Lois is named in honor of the mother of the staff member who brought Lois the corpse flower to the Museum. Lois the Mom was an avid gardener who inspired her son’s pursuit of horticulture as a career.

  11. Erin F says:

    We are not going to pollinate Lois, as this causes her flower to close up much sooner. With so much interest in this flower, we did not want her to close up before everyone who wants to see her has a chance to do so.

  12. Erin F says:

    Hi Megan,

    You should come see Lois as soon as possible – she’s very unpredictable and we do not know how long the bloom will last.

  13. Erin F says:

    Hi KZ,

    You should come see Lois as soon as possible – we do not know how longer her bloom will last, as she has been very unpredictable so far. The smell is already starting to dissipate and will likely be gone by tomorrow.

  14. Krithy says:

    Hi Erin,
    So will the smell be gone by Sunday afternoon? I will not be able to come until then. I am really anxious to smell it at its peak!

  15. Erin F says:

    hi Kristy,

    I’m sorry to say the smell is already mostly gone – it only lasts for 8 – 12 hours and it started a around 3 am today. She’s still a sight to see though – come by an check her out!

  16. Justin says:

    Erin, I am curious about the decision to display Lois so soon and the ramifications that it may have had on her blooming. Do you think that by removing her from the greenhouse 2 weeks ago that it stunted her bloom and that the reason her bloom has the “wilt” characteristics is because the blooming process was impeded? If so, do you think that next time you will try housing her in a better environment before the actual blooming event? I think it is wonderful that Lois has been shared so much with the public, but there seems to be a lot of chatter online that the bloom has suffered because of the inadequate conditions of the viewing room. Is that true? Thanks for all your previous answers… we know that you guys are busy.

  17. Brian says:

    I finally visited Lois, and I was left very disappointed as I was expecting her to be much more beautiful. What other corpse flowers have bloomed vase-shaped? I have searched for many pictures of different flowers and all are the more magnificent and beautiful bell-shaped. The flower picture that is on the HMNS homepage obviously is not Lois, but it is a magnificent and beautiful bloom compared to Lois.

  18. Erin F says:

    Hi Justin,

    These are definitely questions for our horticulturalists. I can tell you that Lois had expert care throughout her blooming process and that she is a very healthy plant. After everything dies down, we are going to be doing several wrap-up posts here on the blog. I will definitely make sure all your questions get addressed. Thank you for reading!

  19. Erin F says:

    Hi Brian,

    I am sorry to hear that – especially since you have been following Lois so closely! You are correct – we had to post an image of another corpse flower because for most of her blooming process, Lois had not yet fully bloomed. We definitely did not intend to misrepresent what she would look like – but since she has never bloomed before we had no idea what was coming. Thanks for following along on this adventure with us – it’s definitely been a journey of discovery!

  20. Brian says:

    I do agree with Justin that Lois’ blooming process may have been adversely affected due to her not being the greenhouse and rain forest environment. Could you ask the horticulturalists if they know of any other flower that was vase shaped? Lois seems to the be first one, I cannot find any myself.

  21. Brian says:

    May I please have my comments deleted on this post. I want to focus and consolidate my discussion on the vase and bell-shaped post. Thank you.

  22. Brian says:

    Blog admin, I asked for all my comments on this blog post to please be deleted. I want all my posts to consolidate into the vase and bell shaped blog post.

  23. Erin F says:

    Hi Brian,

    We value all the conversations that take place on our blog, so we don’t delete comments unless they are obscene/non-science related, etc. You can see our comment policy here:

    I’m sure anyone who comes through this post won’t mind clicking through to see your comments on our more recent Lois post. Here is the link for any who are interested:

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