By the time you read this, the Corpse Flower at the San Antonio Zoo has bloomed or is on the edge of a stinky blossom.
Now officially named La LIorona (or “The Weeping Woman,’' a ghost from Mexican folklore tales.), you can say this rare tropical plant has been the talk of the town this past week. But what makes it so special? We reached out to the experts at the zoo, and this is what they had to say.
🌷 A first for San Antonio
This is the first known instance of a Corpse Flower blooming in the Alamo City. Dr. Dante Fenolio, VP of Conservation and Research at the San Antonio Zoo, says that there are less than 1000 of these plants left in the wild, making it a rare phenomenon to happen in the SATX.
“We are now part of a consortium working to culture the species in our labs [and] to help retain the plant for future generations.”
The zoo plans to take samples of the pollen and tissue of La Llorona for genetic study as well as compare to other Corpse Flowers that are left.
🌷 The smelly chemistry
La Llorona’s blossom will last anywhere from one to four days. And if you’re wondering why it’s called a Corpse Flower, well let’s just say the powerful scent reeks of death — literally.
It produces 30 chemicals that give off a smell of decaying meat which attracts insects such as carrion beetles + flesh flies who pollinate on the flower.
It also has other incredible properties that make it so unique:
- A Corpse Flower’s full name is Amorphophallus titanum and is also known as titan arum.
- This plant is native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia and first became known to science in 1878.
- It can grow up to eight ft tall and generate its own heat allowing the stench to travel even further.
- It produces a flower every four to five years.
- After the flower withers, it grows berry-like fruits on the spadix of the flower that birds eat and helps disperse the seeds.
🌷 Growth Schedule
7/14: 50 inches
7/13: 50 inches
7/12: 48.75 inches
7/11: 48 inxhes
7/10: 47 inches
7/9: 44 inches
7/8: 41.5 inches
7/7: 38 inches
🌷 Meet La LIorona
You can view La Llorona through the livestream or by visiting the zoo. Viewing is free for members and is included in standard admission. Pro tip: if you purchase an adult ticket online, you can get a child’s ticket for free by using the promo code BOGO22 or you can use the promo code JULYJINGLE and save 50% on a child’s admission ticket.