#Bloomwatch Is Over: The ‘Corpse Flower’ at the Franklin Park Zoo Has Bloomed

The rare flower opens just once every several years and smells like rotting flesh.

corpse flower combo

‘Pugsley,’ the ‘corpse flower’ at the Franklin Park Zoo, has grown more than 15 inches in a week-and-a-half.

Update, Sunday, October 2: #Bloomwatch is officially over. “Pugsley” bloomed overnight, and is currently emitting its rare stench at the Franklin Park Zoo. Zoo officials made the announcement just before 1 a.m. The zoo is open until 4 p.m. Sunday and opens Monday morning at 10 a.m. The rotting flesh smell is expected to be strongest for the first 8-12 hours after the initial bloom, says spokeswoman Erin DeVito.

Earlier: It’s a waiting game over at the Franklin Park Zoo as officials keep a close eye on “Pugsley,” a rare rainforest “corpse flower” that could bloom at any moment.

Ever since the zoo first announced last week that one of its Amorphophallus titanum, or titan arum, flowers—which, when it blossoms, has a pungent odor designed to attract bugs that has been compared to that of rotting flesh—was about to open, Boston has been on #Bloomwatch.

Followers on Facebook and Twitter have been getting daily updates on the flower’s progress. In just a week-and-a-half, it’s shot up more than 15 inches.

“’Pugsley’ is currently five feet tall, and has closely mimicked the growth habits of the previous blooms of two of our other corpse flowers,” says Harry Liggett, Zoo New England’s manager of horticulture and grounds. “It went through a growth period of three and four inches for several days then decreased to 1.5 [inches] for three days, 1 [inch] for two days, and of this morning, .5 [inches]”

So does that mean its giant, lettuce-like leaves will peel open this weekend, finally revealing its raw meat-colored innards and releasing its notorious stink?

The answer, as it’s been all along, is maybe. Zoo officials had predicted it might happen as early as last Tuesday. But a corpse flower blooms when it’s ready, and not a minute before.

Experts can, however, look to the other corpse flowers in the zoo’s collection—each named after members of the fictional monsters of The Addams Family—for clues.

“If we go by the growth rate of ‘Fester’ prior to its last two blooms,” Liggett says, “it should bloom tonight or tomorrow night. If we go by the growth rate of ‘Morticia’ … bloom should take place in four days.”

For a short time, Pugsley was competing with another New England corpse flower: the one in the collection at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. That flower, which its caretakers named “Morphy,” bloomed last weekend. A camera inside Dartmouth’s greenhouse broadcast livestream footage of “Morphy” as it rose “from the ashes.”

In Boston, though, corpse flower enthusiasts continue to wait patiently. A Zoo New England spokeswoman says it’s been a hit with visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the plant world’s oddest specimens, even if they haven’t had the chance to breathe in its epic stench.

“We have seen much excitement from the public about Pugsley, especially from those following its growth on our social channels, and are happy to see enthusiasm and interest from Zoo visitors,” says Brooke Wardrop, marketing and communications director. “We are all eagerly waiting for the bloom!”