While it seems strange a city as accustomed to strange, overpowering smells as Houston would care about the stench of a flower, here we are—again. The Houston Museum of Natural Science announced that a rare corpse flower bloom is expected over the weekend.
Astute plant lovers will remember another HMNS corpse flower, Lou, that had its malodorous moment just last month, although don't think this is a regular thing: Corpse flowers—native to parts of Indonesia—bloom as little as once per decade. Each bloom is proportionately dramatic as the two-day bloom unleashes the overpowering stench of rotting flesh known to attract hordes of pollinating beetles. It might sound like something cooked up by the Jumanji production designers, but these stinky fellows are part of a whole group of plants known collectively as "carrion flowers" due to their stench.
The corpse flower expected to bloom this weekend, named Mandrake, is visiting the museum's Cockrell Butterfly Center all the way from New Hampshire. HMNS will mercifully forgo the beetles and instead pair flowers and allow the dudes to "ooze pollen starting on about the second day of its bloom" and fertilize the females, which is at least slightly less gross.
You can monitor Mandrake's bloom progress via livestream here. (The player even has a picture-in-picture option so you can hover the stream over whatever work you're pretending to do.)
Happy smelling, Houston!