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Field Notes: a Northwest nature blog

One of the reasons many of us live in the Pacific Northwest is the natural wonders that amaze us all. On this blog Seattle Times writers and photographers will share their explorations of the natural world from snowcaps to whitecaps. Write us at fieldnotes@seattletimes.com with your own sightings, questions and wonders to share.

June 8, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Nature 911: See it now! Corpse flower blooms in UW Greenhouse

Posted by Lynda V. Mapes

The corpse flower unfurled its stately bloom at the UW Botany greenhouse tonight and was in full splendor by 10 p.m.

The stench was just starting to stoke up -- the flower attracts pollinating insects by smelling like carrion -- and had not yet reached its full power. Said to make the eyes water, it should reach full power in the middle of the night tonight. The greenhouse is open til 11 tonight, and reopens for visitors at 8 a.m. tomorrow, when the flower will still be stinky. The scent will fade, but the bloom still be well worth a visit all week.

And is it ever. A line of admirers snaked out the door to see the flower, with people waiting half and hour and longer for their chance to come in the steamy greenhouse, and climb a step ladder to peer inside the depths of the flower's giant bloom. It's that big.

Its outlandish, Alice in Wonderland appearance is the draw, figures Doug Ewing, who with a team of greenhouse techs at the greenhouse coaxed the flower into bloom after two and a half years of dormancy.

It could be years before the flower blooms again, so see it now!

With another chance to see such a flower perhaps years away, people were lined up out the door and it was standing room only in the greenhouse last night as the corpse flower unfurled.

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