By 11 a.m. on Monday, an hour after the U.S. Botanical Garden conservatory opened, a line of hundreds of arum fans had formed outside.
Inside, a crowd gathered around the Titan, which took center stage in the steamy Garden Court. Parents hoisted children on their shoulders for a better view into the mouth of the ruffled collar. It was a muddy crimson color, adding to the whole Gothic spectacle. Those expecting a stench were disappointed: the flower waits until the evening to do its thing.
The gardeners have dubbed the arum “Andy” for its androgynous nature. Among its quirks: a pulsating heat generation. “We know when it heats up, it gives off this smell,” said Holly Shimizu, executive director. “It’s fun to see people so excited about a plant.”
On Sunday night, the putrid smell permeated the conservatory, according to staffers. The garden is open until 8 pm Monday, when its perfume may stir again. The Titan arum is expected to collapse sometime on Tuesday.