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Como’s rare Corpse Flower has begun to bloom

The reek is real.

The reek is real.

When Como Park employees arrived at work today, the Corpse Flower in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory had begun its rare and unusual blooming, which is accompanied by the distinctive odor that some liken to rotting flesh or the smell of death.

The Como crew calls the plant “Bob.”

They expect it to remain odoriferous for only 24 to 48 hours.

You can track the Corpse Flower’s progress on the Como website’s live webcam.

“It’s not completely open this morning, but inside it’s turned purple,” said Michelle Furrer, of the Como staff. And it’s smelly, she said.

Officially, it’s called Amorphophallus titanum, and this one may be a bit smaller than others that have been in the news, including the one last year at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

Bob has been placed in an open parlor area, off the Palm Dome, Furrer said.

And it’s conveniently located near the Conservatory’s annual spring flower show, so after the whiff of death, you can cleanse your sesnses, so to speak, but ducking into the nearby bouquet of tulips, lilies and hydrangeas.

The Conservatory is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; as of 9:30 a.m., there were no plans to extend the hours, in honor of the plant, but that could change, depending on the volume of visitors, officials said.

There’s no admission charge, but zoo officials request a $2 donation for adults and $1 for children. Enter through the new visitor center.