Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Parks & Nature
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Published on February 28, 2024
San Francisco's Corpse Flower "Mirage" Entices Visitors with Its Potent Stench at California Academy of SciencesSource: California Academy of Sciences

The San Francisco air is about to get a whole lot funkier, as the California Academy of Sciences' notorious corpse flower, named Mirage, has officially unfurled its petals, releasing its signature repugnant scent that some liken to the smell of decomposing flesh. The rare botanical event began at 10am this morning, inviting visitors to brave the nauseating fragrance included in the price of general admission, confirmed the Academy’s X post.

In a reality that smells less like roses and more like well, cadavers, the Academy’s prized Amorphophallus titanum is a spectacle that's as bizarre as it is odorous. "It’s happening! Our corpse flower, Mirage, is in full bloom and the stench is present!" stated the tweet from the California Academy of Sciences. Known for its erratic flowering patterns, these putrid plants often go years without blooming, only to pop open when they darn well please. At a towering 65.5 inches currently, the Academy expects Mirage to hit a full seven feet by the end of its growth spurt.

But those in the Bay Area seem to love nothing more than a giant stinky plant. According to SFist, the phenomenon of the corpse flower's blooming has become quite the recurring affair in San Francisco, especially given that the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park is home to five such odoriferous oddities.

This particular plant, native to the rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia, employs its ghastly aroma to attract pollinators like carrion beetles and flies. After the frenzy of flies and gawkers alike, the plant will eventually collapse, receding until it decides to put on its next malodorous show.

Fear not for those who have missed out on Mirage's pungent debut, as these plants tend to keep attendees and the flies returning for more with somewhat frequent bloom cycles. And with several corpse flowers in the city, San Franciscans can rest assured – or rather, hold their breath – as another chance to experience one of nature's most novel stenches is likely just around the corner. To catch updates on this blooming spectacle, flower enthusiasts are encouraged to follow the Academy of Sciences on Instagram, and if you're intrigued by the idea of smelling a plant that reeks of the dead, head on over in person for an unforgettable olfactory experience.