Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Z_CNHI News Service

November 1, 2013

Despite the smell, Perry-the-plant draws a crowd

ST. PETER, Minn. — Roxanne Skogerboe's visit to the famed corpse flower was short and not sweet. She came in one door of the greenhouse at Gustavus Adolphus College, clasped her hand to her nose, sped past the big plant and shot out the other door.

"It's a cool thing, but I could have done without the smell," said Skogerboe. "I started gagging."

The college's rare Amorphophallus titanum plant, affectionately known as Perry, began blooming Thursday and was likely to be mostly done by Friday. During that short span, people from across Minnesota are expected to have visited this small liberal arts college for a view - and maybe a whiff.

"It's very popular," said chemistry professor Brian O'Brien, who cultivated the plant in 1998 with seeds from a San Francisco physician.

The corpse flower - its name comes from the repulsive scent it emits during the hours after it blooms - is found naturally only in the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. O'Brien said there are probably a few hundred plants cultivated elsewhere.

The flowers live for about 40 years and bloom every three to 10 years. Gustavus has a few other corpse plants, though their blooming stages uncertain.

This much is for sure: The blooming plants are a spectacle. When Perry first bloomed in 2007, about 7,000 visitors came to Gustavus to witness it. During its 2010 bloom, about 5,000 came to see the plant.

This year's visitors, invited to leave their impressions in a book, have compared Perry's smell to boiled cabbage, sauerkraut, poop, stinky shoes, road kill and zombies.

Bruce and Linda Ellefson of St. Peter came to see the plant for the first time, drawn by their son, Adam, a Gustavus student who helps in the greenhouse.

"The smell's not as bad as I thought it would be. It's not overwhelmingly horrible," said Bruce Ellefson said. "It's ironic it bloomed on Halloween. It's very appropriate."

Tim Krohn writes for The Free Press in Mankato, Minn.

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Another stumble begs questions about Notre Dame

    Notre Dame's vaunted reputation for formidable athletics and serious academics is again sullied by a cheating scandal. Maybe the high standards of the Fighting Irish are just too good to be true.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Debate filled with 'hate' gives Hamas a pass

    Political invective is dialed to the max, and everyone who disagrees is a "hater." But the hate police, who are so eager to cast labels, are ignoring the real wells of contempt in the Middle East.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg OU player's suspension shows pitfalls of addressing sexual assault on campus

    The University of Oklahoma's leading tackler is suspended for the season - or maybe not. Frank Shannon is still practicing with the Sooners amid a court battle over whether OU can discipline him after a sexual assault investigation. The tough issue of addressing assault on campus isn't just OU's problem.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Robin_Williams.jpg Williams among many who cracked jokes while fighting depression

    Robin Williams isn't the only comedian who has struggled with a disease suffered by an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Williams, a comedian known for his manic energy, committed suicide Aug. 11 at age 63.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Deadly Landslides in Japan Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Arrests Witnessed in Ferguson Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Heavy Rains Flood Arizona Roads US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Facebook