CHICAGO — Something's rotten at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and it's cause for celebration.
The living museum in suburban Glencoe expects its Amorphophallus titanum specimen, also known as the "corpse flower," to bloom some time in the next two weeks.
The largest "unbranched inflorescence" (cluster of flowers) in the world only blooms once every seven to 10 years, and can reach up to ten feet tall and three to four feet wide.
"When those magical hours finally occur, the bloom unfurls into a dramatic, blood red 'flower' with a nauseating stench that can be detected up to an acre away," according to the Botanic Garden. "It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
So what does a corpse flower smell like?
The stench is chemically a mixture of "dimethyl trisulfide, isovaleric acid, dimethyl disulfide, and trimethylamine—or, as our friends at Huntington Botanic Gardens described it, 'a combination of limburger cheese, garlic, rotting fish, and smelly feet,'" according to the garden.
The Botanic Garden has been growing the specimen dubbed "Spike" for 12 years — in addition to eight others — behind the scenes.
Spike was moved to the Semitropical Greenhouse in the Regenstein Center Thursday, as staff predict it will bloom within the next two weeks.
The plant will be the first titan arum (another name for the rare plant) to bloom in the Chicago area, according to the Botanic Garden. It is native to Indonesian rainforests.
Summer hours for the Chicago Botanic Garden are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, and when Spike is in full bloom, the greenhouse will be open until 2 a.m.
Be the first to know when Spike starts to smell by following the plant's hashtag: #CBGSpike. Once the plant blooms, it will remain open for only about a day or day and a half, according to this report from Eastern Illinois University.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: