HANOVER, N.H. — A flower that smells like a cross between a decaying animal and urine is set to bloom later this week at Dartmouth College.

Named Morphy, the titan arum — or corpse flower — hasn’t bloomed since 2011. Officials at Dartmouth’s Life Sciences Greenhouse, where the 6 ½-foot flower is housed, estimate it should bloom as early as Thursday. Crowds have already been filing through the greenhouse, including nearly 175 on Sunday for a special viewing of the flower that is growing about 4 inches a day in anticipation of its big moment.

As it gets closer to unleashing its foul odor, the flower will turn a red burgundy color — similar to meat — to attract potential pollinators.

“It’s exciting that we have this flower,” said Kim DeLong, the greenhouse manager at Dartmouth who witnessed a corpse flower opening when she worked at the University of California, Berkeley. “The smell is very overpowering. It smells like a dead corpse or feces or urine — all of that together.”

Dartmouth has extended greenhouse hours this week and has a webcam streaming live images of the flower — including a few showing visitors trying to catch a sniff. Once it blooms, visitors won’t have much time to catch a glimpse. It will only remain open for a day, though its smell will linger for a few days after that.

Titan arum is native to Sumatra’s equatorial rain forests and is among the most popular flowers when it blooms. Huge crowds came to catch a whiff of the flower when one bloomed in July at the New York Botanical Garden and again in August when one bloomed at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.


Link to the live webcam: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~grnhouse/morphy.html