Stinky, Gorgeous Corpse Flower Blooms at Nashville Zoo

The rare flower smells like dead mice or dirty diapers.

Nashville Zoo corpse flower
This is just part of the Nashville Zoo's blooming corpse flower.

 Nashville Zoo

Just in time for the spooky season, a "corpse flower" is in bloom at the Nashville Zoo.

Officially known as Amorphophallus titanum or titan arum, the plant earned its nickname for its decidedly foul aroma when it blooms.

The Nashville Zoo's corpse flower just hit full bloom and visitors are enthralled with the massive flower, lining up to catch a glimpse and a whiff.

"To me, it smells like dead mice," Jim Bartoo, the zoo's marketing and public relations director, tells Treehugger.

Other people have likened it to dirty diapers or rotting meat.

But fans don't seem to care so much, he says.

"While we did see a few kids holding their noses, for the most part the smell did not seem to bother anyone."

Watch a time-lapse video from the zoo of the plant blooming:

It can take as long as a decade for a corpse flower to develop enough energy to start its bloom cycle, according to the Chicago Botanic Garden. After that first bloom, it might take three to seven years before it blooms again.

There have been stories of corpse flowers growing as big as 10 feet (3 meters) high with blooms as large as 3 feet (.9 meters) wide).

Corpse flowers are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List with their numbers decreasing.

It's Not the Smell

Rare corpse flower in bloom
 Nashville Zoo

The corpse flower is located inside the Nashville Zoo's aviary, which had been closed for social distancing. Patient visitors are waiting to see and smell the giant rare bloom.

"For most people, it is the largest flower they have ever seen and probably will ever see again," says Bartoo, explaining the flower's appeal.

"The name itself is intriguing but the smell really isn't the fascinating part. It's the size and rarity of the bloom."

The plant usually only blooms for a day or two and, fortunately for zoo employees and guests, the smell only lingers for six to 12 hours.