ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — Something stinks in Roseville – and it has people lining up to see it.
It may look like something from the “Little Shop of Horrors,” but this 6-foot-7-inch corpse flower is real and lives up to its name.
“Awful. It smells like death,” said one woman.
The plant, which grows naturally in hot and humid Sumatra, needs a little coaxing in this climate. That’s why it’s housed in a greenhouse at Roseville High School.
“It’s actually pollinated by beetles and flies. It’s trying to attract those types of insects, so it gives off different sulfur compounds that mimic the odor of garbage and rotting flesh,” said science teacher CJ Addington.
Addington has lovingly cared for the plant.
“We’re the only high school in the world that’s managed to bloom a corpse flower so we’re quite proud of that,” Addington said. “The fact that it takes this type of maintenance and 9-10 years to grow means you usually see it only at big facilities with staff and money.”
If you don’t catch it in the flowering stage, the plant doesn’t look like much.
“It’s just growing and photosynthesizing and building up its bulb,” Addington said. “But once that bulb gets up to 35-40 pounds, that’s big enough to flower and then it will put up a flower.”
It’s that anticipation that Addington built an audience around. He set up a webcam and a timelapse to draw in crowds.
Kelley Newstead wasn’t even aware it was local until her kids brought it to her attention. So how does the build-up stack up?
“Even more striking. The height of it is absolutely incredible and the smell – I can’t describe it. But that is something that will stay with me for sure,” she said.
A smell to die for in what has been a year that really stinks.
“This an unpleasant time right now and I think a lot of people are finding that this sort of thing is sort of like a little breath of fresh air,” Newstead said.
You can find a livestream of the corpse flower on Addington’s Youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyCu5zh_E_g.