Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden Stinks!

By kbender
Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 at 6:53 pm in Uncategorized.


The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden will stay open until 6 p.m. on Wednesday so you can all get a giant whiff of the massive corpse flower, which has a trademark stench that has been described as smelling like gym socks, rotting flesh or an overturned outhouse. Do I have your attention? The Titan arum, affectionately named Odora by garden staff, began issuing its trademark stench before the garden opened Monday. 

“Odora is a great name for it because it’s so odoriferous,” said garden spokeswoman Janet Williams, adding that this plant’s foul smell seems even more powerful than that of its two predecessors at the garden, Titania the Titan last year and Trudy the Titan in 2005.

The rare Titan arum blossom can last up to 72 hours before collapsing. As of Tuesday morning, the blossom was still open but the garden staff was expecting it to close within the next 24 hours. Odora is not as stinky as Monday but still a stinkaroo. She’s also a big one/

When a first flower bud was identified on June 18 it was about about 28 inches tall.

Odora has now bloomed to 44 inches and can  be seen (and smelled) at the Tropical House where visitors can also see a normal typical giant leaf and last year’s 4 ft. tall fruiting stalk with ripe fruit produced from pollination of Titania (Odora’s cousin) last August. 

Along with its rather unusual odor, the titan arum has other unusual characteristics. Sometimes the plant can grow up to  2 inches every 24 hours.

Don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.

The UC Botanical Garden is at 200 Centennial Drive. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $2 for children ages 3 through 12.


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