One of San Francisco’s Corpse Flowers Is Barely Still in Bloom

One of the corpse flowers at SF’s Conservatory of Flowers bloomed earlier this week — and today’s probably the last day to see it before it completely wilts.

San Francisco has been fixated on a human-sized flower that smells of ripe roadkill this week. Scarlet, the Sumatran corpse flower that began blooming on July 3rd, attracted hours-long lines at the greenhouse since she began unraveling — her rustic-red interior looking like butterflied steak, with a foul odor to match.

Her terracotta blush is fleeting; Scarlet was expected to only bloom for one, maybe two days after opening. Nearly five days later, the towering plant is still blooming… albeit on its last leg (petal) of life.

A quick look at the livestream set up for the flower shows Scarlet looking unrecognizably limp. The tall stigma that was once perky has since surrendered to gravity, falling over halfway down its stock. The spathe, which is the frilled, flesh-like protective layer surrounding the flower, is turning white; that aforenoted red flush is browning as the flower decays.

Scarlet’s bloom is well past its prime — but the flower remains on display. Given that the plant only flowers once every few years, it’s still worth a visit to the beloved greenhouse before it’s gone for good.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays; those interested in seeing the flower — one they’ll be able to smell from a metaphorical mile away — can do so by visiting the greenhouse’s West Gallery.

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