CHICAGO — Scientists may never know why Spike the corpse flower failed to bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
More than 50,000 visitors saw Spike, the Titan Arum specimen that was supposed to bloom and release a nauseating and powerful stench for a few dozen hours.
It was opened manually by staff Monday to harvest pollen, but the process didn't get the Botanic Garden's staff any closer to answers about Spike's failure to bloom.
"No, we probably will not get an answer to the 'why question' by opening it," according to the garden. "We’re not sure why it didn’t open. There have been so few to compare to know."
Corpse flowers only bloom about once every seven to 10 years, and Spike had been in the care of the Botanic Garden for 12 years.
The corpse flower would have released upon opening a smell described as a mixture of cheese, fish, and feet, like a flower successfully did this summer at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
The Chicago plant will be taken behind the scenes again. The Botanic Garden has eight other Titan Arum specimens in its care.
Visitors have until noon Tuesday to get a whiff of Spike.
"If you put your nose up to it there is a very slight scent," according to the Botanic Garden.
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