Stinky Lois Blooms in Houston

Rare flower will emit foul odor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    parksdh2/flickr
    UC Berkeley Botanical Garden's Titan Arum, named "Maladora," in bloom. June 30, 2010. In this photographer's opinion, the stench was disappointingly underwhelming, but we were told that the fragrance comes and goes throughout the day.

    Update: Lois, the stinky flower, is blooming today in Houston. You can watch live on this webcam.

    I was born in Houston, and I hate that stinking town and pretty much the rest of that Texas region eastward until it runs into the Louisiana border.

    Personal history, you understand.

    So news that a rare flower, a corpse flower, is ready to bloom in Houston any day now, if it hasn’t already, made me chuckle.

    The corpse flower gets its name from the rotting-flesh smell it emits. And it’s not a dainty little thing. The one growing at the Houston Museum of Natural Science — seriously, they grew this thing on purpose, I guess, to freshen the Houston air — stands about 5 feet tall and weighs about 30 pounds.

    The Houston bloom marks only the 29th time one of these babies choked respiratory systems in the history of the United States. Evidently the flower seeks out a location appropriately vile enough for it to release its foulness. Perfect.

    The only problem is that the bloom and associated olfactory funk last only about two days.

    Ah, even Houstonians need a breath of fresh air every now and then, no matter how brief.

    Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He congratulates Houston for finding a way to improve its air quality.