A Corpse Flower Arrives at the California Science Center from The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

Press Release / July 30, 2021

A Corpse Flower Arrives at the California Science Center from The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

Los Angeles, Calif. – One of the smelliest plants in the world, the towering Corpse Flower arrives today at the California Science Center, on loan from The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens ahead of its impending bloom. An Amorphophallus titanum in bloom is both rare and magnificent, and California Science Center guests will have the opportunity to watch the flower unfold sometime in the next two weeks. It is difficult to predict the exact day and time the bloom will begin. For updates, and to help name the Corpse Flower, follow the California Science Center on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Found in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, the endangered Titan Arum would be notable for its stature alone. The tallest specimen measured over 12 feet high. But just as remarkable as the size of this plant is the odor of rotting flesh that it emanates to attract pollinators during its brief bloom, which lasts just two to three days.

The Huntington was the focus of world-wide attention in 1999 when it exhibited the first Amorphophallus titanum ever to bloom in California. Today, after a number of other successful blooms and pollinations, there are several generations of "Little Stinkers" in The Huntington’s botanical greenhouses, waiting for their moment to bloom. But this is the first time The Huntington has loaned a Corpse Flower to another institution.

“The blooming of a rare plant like Amorphophallus titanum provides The Huntington with an opportunity to pursue three of our most important missions: education, research, and conservation,” says Nicole Cavender, the Telleen/Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens at The Huntington. “We are thrilled that a partnership with the California Science Center will allow us to share this extraordinary part of our collections with new audiences.”

“The Corpse Flower is a striking example of the incredible biodiversity of our planet, and I want to express deep gratitude to The Huntington for giving us the opportunity to share it with our guests” notes Jeffrey Rudolph, President of the California Science Center. “We are delighted our visitors can have what might be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see this rare bloom and hope that it inspires those who see it to learn about the natural world and help to preserve it.”

Apart from its impressive size and scent, the reproductive capacity of Amorphophallus titanum is extraordinary. Guests at the California Science Center can enrich their experience seeing a rare Corpse Flower bloom with a visit to the new exhibition Life! Beginnings, which examines the unique ways all living creatures reproduce, develop, and pass on their genes in order to bring new life into the world. The exhibition also features a life-sized model of Rafflesia arnoldii, a corpse lily found on Sumatra and Borneo which also uses the scent of decaying flesh to attract pollinators. Rafflesia arnoldii has the distinction of being the largest individual flower on Earth. Guests can also extend their visit by exploring the Ecosystems gallery, which features an unprecedented blend of live plants and animals, and hands-on science exhibits in 11 immersive environments – unique among science centers in the United States. From walking through a living kelp forest to experimenting on a polar ice wall, guests will investigate some of the Earth's most fascinating ecosystems and discover the ways various species have had to adapt, like Titan Arum plants, to their unique environments.

Timed reservations are required to visit the California Science Center. To make reservations or learn more about the Corpse Flower, visit www.californiasciencecenter.org.

About the California Science Center

The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles. The Science Center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Parking is $15.

About The Huntington 
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, a collections-based research and educational institution, aspires to be a welcoming place of engagement and reflection for a diverse community. The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Visitor information: huntington.org or 626-405-2100. (Check huntington.org for updates during this period for new visitation protocols due to COVID-19.)

***Note to Assignment Editors/Reporters: Please contact the California Science Center Communications department at media@californiasciencecenter.org or kkurasz@californiasciencecenter.org to make interview arrangements in advance of a visit.***

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Media Contact: Kristina Kurasz

Associate Director of Communications, California Science Center Foundation

(213) 744-7446 | kkurasz@californiasciencecenter.org