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Cornell University’s corpse plant bloomed at 4 p.m. Wednesday but in the overnight hours, it unexpectedly started to wither.
At 8:30 Thursday morning, visitors saw the plant’s purple spathe and the tall spadix starting to collapse.
“It’s fading early and we didn’t expect,” said Professor Robert Raguso, whose students have been documenting the plant, known as Wee Stinky, in two hour intervals.
It looked like it had lost water pressure, Raguso said. That was not expected until Friday.
The tall, tropical plant, found in the Sumatran rainforests, is named for the noxious odor it emits, described by some as “rotting meat” or “dead fish” when it blooms to attract flies and beetles.
The peak of the stink came Wednesday evening as predicted, the first day the plant bloomed. Crowds of people came and socialized while learning about the plant.
“I think it’s terrific, because it brings people together almost like an art installation, ” Raguso said.