CorpseCam: Watch the live stream of a rare-blooming corpse flower about to blossom

Corpse flower
CC BY 2.0 Wikimedia Commons

Better than watching grass grow! Binghamton University has set up a live webcam to share the joy as their beloved funky flora does its thing.

Nicknamed Metis – in honor of the goddess of learning and teaching – the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) at Binghamton University’s E.W. Teaching Greenhouse is getting ready to bloom. Why is this news? Because members of the notoriously shy species generally bloom only once every five to 30 years. And when they do, prepare to gasp. It’s named corpse flower for a reason ... in particular, for the scent of rancid rotting flesh that the pretty bloom emits as it goes from bud to blossom.

This particular specimen found its home at the University thanks to the efforts of alumnus Werner Stiegler, who facilitated the donation of the plant’s corm, which was grown from a seed that came from Bali, to the University's greenhouse. And it appears to be a match made in malodorous heaven. Metis first opened at the University in 2010 and again in 2013.

Laurie Bell, greenhouse manager at the University, says that Metis is likely so prolific because of its location in the facility.

"It is clear from its tremendous growth rate that Metis favors this particular spot in the Tropical Room," says Bell. "After its last inflorescence in 2013, Metis' corm weighed 50 pounds It was then in leaf for a year, and nearly doubled its size to 95 pounds this spring."

Metis is set to bloom on or around August 26 and the greenhouse will have extended hours to accommodate the brave well-wishers. But if you don’t live in the area, you can watch baby bloom on the University’s riveting live stream feed of the big event. Sadly, smell is not included.

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