Corpse Flower Blooms at Colorado State University | Westword

What's the Big Stink Over Cosmo, the Corpse Flower?

It just bloomed for the first time in eight years!
Colorado State University's corpse flower, Cosmo, is expected to bloom at some point over the holiday weekend.
Colorado State University's corpse flower, Cosmo, is expected to bloom at some point over the holiday weekend. Courtesy of Colorado State University
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The corpse flower has come alive! Cosmo, Colorado State University's legendary plant, has bloomed for the first time in its eight years at the school.

According to CSU researchers, Cosmo bloomed early on Sunday, May 26. True to the plant's name, visitors can expect to smell an odor often likened to decaying flesh, but the smell will begin to fade after twelve hours and disappear altogether within two or three days.

The corpse flower can grow up to eight feet tall and is native to Sumatra, Indonesia. According to the U.S. Botanic Garden, there are fewer than 1,000 wild corpse plants remaining, and the species is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The last time Colorado saw a corpse flower bloom was at the Denver Botanic Gardens, where the aptly named Lil Stinker bloomed in June 2022.

CSU received Cosmo in a plant swap attended by Plant Growth Facilities Manager Tammy Brenner in 2016. About two weeks ago, Brenner and her colleagues realized Cosmo was coming out of dormancy. "It started looking a little bit more full, a little bit more plump. It started growing and shooting out stalks," Brenner said in an announcement of Cosmo's status. "We realized something really big was about to happen.”

Big and stinky. You can view (and smell) the plant in person from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day the flower is in bloom at the Plant Growth Facility Conservatory, 1241 Libbie Coy Way in Fort Collins.

Can't make the last-minute trip to Fort Collins? CSU is providing a free livestream that can be found below:
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