By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4) – There is a stinky surprise greeting visitors to the Denver Botanic Gardens.
“Right when I came in I smelled it and I was like, ‘that smells bad,’” Evelyn Jackson, a 7-year-old visitor to the Gardens, said Saturday morning.
A corpse flower, deemed “Little Stinker,” bloomed overnight and several thousand people are expected to come take a whiff over the weekend.
PHOTO GALLERY: Corpse Flower Blooms At Denver Botanic Gardens
“It’s called Little Stinker because when it first emerged it was a small bud and we weren’t sure it was even going to live,” Nicholas Giaquinto, Conservatory Horticulturalist at the Denver Botanic Gardens, told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
The odiferous flower is alive and well. As for what it smells like, it depends on who you ask.
“A rotting apple or banana or any kind of fruit,” Evelyn said.
Ten-year-old Meyer Jackson said it smelled like rotting flesh.
“It smells like rotting corpses and dead plants,” he said.
Giaqunito said most people describe the stench as a dead rodent, but he barely notices the smell anymore. Another visitor thought it was the crowd.
I thought it was the smell of a lot of people in the building,” Derek Dawes said with a laugh.
This is the second corpse flower to bloom in the Rocky Mountain region. The first made a big stink last year at the Gardens where more than 20,000 people lined up to see it.
While visitors are back and plugging their noses, botanists are scratching their heads. It turns out Little Stinker isn’t the only corpse flower blooming in the country right now.
“It’s a unique phenomenon,” Giaquinto said. “New York Botanic Gardens, the U.S. Botanic Garden as well, Chicago Botanic Garden has one, we have one and many more are starting to bloom right now this year. I don’t know why it’s happening now, but they all just have enough energy now to release their bloom.”
Corpse flowers are native to Sumatra, so it is special to see two — let alone one — bloom in Colorado. Check it out soon, though, as it will be a while before anyone can get a big whiff of Little Stinker again.
“They flower every three to 10 years, it just depends,” Giaquinto said.
The bloom only lasts a couple days, and could be done by the end of the day Sunday.
To check out the unique flower, visit the Denver Botanic Gardens this weekend. The Gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.